10.23.2012

FAQ: Sleeping Babies!

Hi friends! I have received an ENORMOUS response to my sleeping article- What a blessing to know that in some way I am able to help some people through my experience with sleeping babies. The article, of course, has come with some criticism- you can't please everyone- but overall it has been a huge blessing and people have been so kind to encourage me and seek my advice. THAT BEING SAID...I am slammed! Between working from home, being a full time mom to the 3 chix, blogging, spending time with the Lord, trying to maintain a clean home...or at least clean laundry and a husband who works 50+hours a week- I cant keep up with all of the emails asking for help...AND I REALY WANT TO! SO...since a lot of people ask the same questions- I thought I would do a little FAQ on here and hopefully answer some questions- or give people a start while they are waiting for me to respond! I am truly happy to help, and I know everyone has circumstances that are unique- every child is truly different- so send me your questions- but know it might take a bit to respond! Once again, I am honored that you would seek my advice and will do my best to help you out! Of course, let me know if you try something that worked well!
(**I have to say it- I am NOT an expert, I am a mom of 3 girls with a communications degree and lots of event planning experience- I think that has helped- sleep training, potty training- all big events with logistical challenges! :)

Here we go:

1. My baby wakes up 30 minutes into nap time every day: (or they will not take naps)
This is the #1 question I get, I think for some reasons babies either wake up 30 minutes in..or that is their "active" sleep period. (I discussed naps HERE.) I have found, if I leave my girls to nap, they will go back to sleep or settle back into restful sleep MOST of the time. Of course there are times of teething or sickness when it just doesn't work out- but most of the time, they go back to sleep. When you go with the philosophy of: Naptime starts when mom says it starts and ends when mom says it ends- it gives you a good frame of mind to allow them to fall back asleep.
Make sure:
a) they are getting really full at feedings
b) they are not waking up because of a prop- if the binkie comes out or swaddle comes loose and that is waking them- time to kick the habit (better now than later..I think!)
c) They are stimulated right after eating, nice and awake and they chill right before naptime- nothing too stimulating right before sleep.
d) Make sure they are not going too early...or too late. Sometimes they are so over tired that they wont sleep. Also, sometimes they are acting very alert and not sleepy at all...and it is nap time so we hesitate putting them down- that is when the "nap time starts when mom says" comes into play- weeks 1-13 they should eat every 3 hours and nap every 1.5hrs after eating. Weeks 13 on they eat every 4hrs and nap 2 hours after each feeding. When it is nap time, lay them down to nap.
e) Establish a routine (here is mine): Walk in the room, turn on a sound machine, snuggle for a minute (maybe sing a little song- not rocking, just standing), lay her down (now my #3 likes her tummy- she is all over the place) and walk out of the room. I return when nap is over.
f) If they are crying..(or screaming) of course think of what could possibly cause them to scream and are you certain they are safe in the crib (no blanker over the head or anything) (a video monitor is handy for you to know without going back in- although, I personally am not a fan of the video monitor- we can discuss that later!) Anyway- if the only reason they are screaming is they are tired- Let them sleep! So...have in mind how long you are willing to let them cry.. start at 15 minutes. Turn off your monitor, do whatever you need to do and let them work it out. Push that time back every nap as long as you feel comfortable. BUT..when you set that time, do not go back in until that time is up.
g) I read a post by Elena at Vegalicious - she used her husband's shirt (with his smell on it) in the crib so her baby could have comfort from that familiar smell- it seemed to work for her baby- I say try it! As long as your baby is old enough to not get it stuck over their face or something horrible- try it out!
h) Use your instincts- if your baby is screaming and it is "not working" just get them up, feed them and start fresh! Every feeding is a chance to start fresh. If you have a bad nap- your baby is not a bad sleeper- they just had a bad nap!
i) Babies act hungry when they are tired...do not let feeding be your first response if you know it is nap time!

2) My baby is XX weeks/months old and still wakes up at night: 
Once you know they CAN sleep through the night, nutritionally, it is a lot easier to let them.
- I said it in my article- DO NOT run in the room every time they cry at night. Lets call it "delayed response"...really delayed. Allow them to have some active sleep (my 5 year old still has active sleep some nights).
- Same thought as above: set in your mind (before you go to sleep- we do crazy things when we are tired!) how long you will let them cry or talk or fuss or whatever they do- start with 15 minutes or whatever you are comfortable with- and DO not go in until that time frame is up. Push it back each night- turn off the monitor or turn it really low if you need to- whatever it takes!
- Make sure they are REALLY full before bed- I like rice cereal before bed for older babies- whatever your method is- make sure they are getting enough food. I also like sound machines- loud!
- Really focus on the daytime schedule while you are trying to establish sleeping through the night. Do not let them go more than 3 hours (1-13 weeks) or 4 hours (13-...) without waking them to eat. You can be flexible on this once the routine is established.
- Take 2 weeks and focus on that daytime routine being wake, eat, play, sleep- I have found that my babies sleep better at night when they have good daytime sleep- it is opposite from what you would think. The later you keep them up...does not mean the later they sleep- I promise on this one!

3) Am I being mean or not responding to my babies needs by letting them cry it out?
Ok...God gave us instincts as moms to know what our babies need- so listen to those! He also filled us with love and mercy for our babies- so how precious that you are concerned about this! It is horrible to listen to a baby crying and not be able to do anything- so hard! Here are my thoughts: (you will find a TON of people to disagree with me!)
- When your baby is on a schedule and you KNOW it is nap time, you are absolutely responding to their needs by letting them sleep. You are simply teaching them to soothe themselves into sleep instead of you soothing them to sleep.
- If you do a little sleep training or "sleeping boot camp" I have found that your baby will cry a lot less than if you do not. It is a fact that babies get cranky and cry when they are tired...if you do not allow them to nap...guess what they will be doing all day?
- I believe that 2 weeks of being strict with a schedule and letting them cry it out a bit will save you a lot of tears down the road. I think it takes 2 weeks of strict schedule to establish a new routine.
- Take one nap or one night at a time- try your best and if you need to feed and start over...do it!
- I PROMISE it is easier to sleep train a baby than to sleep train a toddler- I promise!

4) What if my baby wakes my other children when "crying it out"?
This is tough- really tough! I honestly do not have any experience with this- I am blessed to have my girls in different rooms and my older two are really sound sleepers. Here are some ideas:
- Hopefully you have a situation where your baby can be in a different room from you or your other children. I would say, if not...purchase a divider or something so the baby cannot see you or their siblings- it is really hard to let them soothe to sleep if they are starring at your face :)
- Sound machines for EVERYONE! Make sure you have them in the siblings rooms and the baby's room. Don't be afraid to crank it up. (Any sound machine is fine, I use this one LINK)
- If you absolutely NEED to put the baby in a Pack N' Play or something in a different room for the 2 week boot camp (as mentioned above)- you might need to do that- or put the other kids in another room? But, I would try to leave them in their room or wherever you want them to sleep. I would bet your other kids will sleep right through it- Pray a lot! :)

I will keep adding to this- these are just the 4 questions I get A LOT. You can feel free to comment below...as usual, I will not respond to hate mail and will gladly delete anyone who is negative- if this isn't for you...move on!

As always please make sure to follow on Facebook or Twitter.












19 comments:

  1. My sister in law sent me the previous blog about sleeping & it confirmed what I was doing. Since then I stalk your blog & love it. I have a 3 month old & I love your Godly advice. Thanks for all the help. P.S. Your house looks gorgeous!

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  2. I agree with Candice -- your blog has been extremely encouraging for this new mom! It is nice to hear positive things about Babywise when I mostly hear the negatives. It makes sense to me and my pediatrician is a fan but most importantly -- baby Audrey seems to be thriving on it, too! Keep the advice and Godly wisdom coming!

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    1. Thank you Whitney!! So glad to know Audrey is thriving on it-that is the reason I did it, all of the best babies and older kids I knew had parents who used BW- I am a big fan...obviously, haa!

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  3. I found this first post through Pintrest. What a blessing your blog has been! Yesterday was my first full day trying it and Kelsey slept from 9:45 PM to 5:45 Am! I woke up and had a moment of panic wondering if she was OK, sure enough she was cooing from her bed just fine! With my Older daughter, Callie, she was always a good sleeper and we never tried anything with her so when Kelsey wasn't quite there yet I found this and the choir (and I) sang Hallelujah! Thank you for being so real about everything and for making me feel better if things always don't quite turn out the way I planed in my head! =) You rock!

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    1. Thank you Katie, I appreciate you taking the time to give me positive feedback! Blessings to you!!

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  4. I have a 12 month old son who constantly wakes, how would I go about the schedule as per say the newborn schedule? My oldest is 2 years old and it was easier to work with him and he started sleeping the whole night around this time. Any advice for older ones would help :) Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and words of wisdom through out your blog :)

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    1. Hi Kerrin! I would do a little 2 week "boot camp" establish a routine for him- start at the wake time- feed him then play time, 2 hours later put him down for a nap. When he wakes up (approx 2 hours later) feed him, playtime then 2-2.5 hours later nap time. (I say 2.5 because my #3 really needs 2.5 between the second nap- every child is different, so see what works for you) then whenever you want it to be "bed time" i.e. 7pm, 8pm? Have a bedtime routine- bath, book or song, sound machine, whatever it is- put him down and delay your response when he wakes up at night. Make sure he is getting a lot of food during the day and I like rice cereal right before bed time- make sure they are nice and full- at the 12 month mark, you can mix that with whole milk (or at least that is what I have read and my pediatrician believes) - just dont go in at every cry- give him time to fall back to sleep- delay it a bit longer each night and eventually- I believe by the 2 week mark- he will be sleeping much better- let me know how it goes!!!

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    2. I've got him down to waking up once at night. Its hard not to run right in there when they are crying. I've delayed my reaction time by a lot and having the monitor on a lower setting has helped that. We making sure he's stuffed right before bed with lots of rice cereal and fruit/veggies. Its a work in progress as my fiance doesn't really work that well with my sons while I'm at work. Potty training will be a whole other story and adventure to tackle. I'm hoping by the beginning of December/ his 1st birthday we'll be sleeping the whole night :) Thank you for replying!

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  5. I have 15 week old and exclusively pump but have been following your schedule to the "T". It has worked wonderfully up until the past couple of days. My daughter has for the past several nights woke up at 3;30 a.m. and every hour or half hour. My husband and I will try to go in there and give her the pacifier, turn music back on, and rock at times. I need help on what to do to get her back to sleeping through the night. Please help!

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    1. I replied on the other article- let me know if that doesnt help!

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  6. I have a question about night time. When they are newborns and we put them down for bedtime they will wake up approx every 2-3 hrs. Do we just nurse and go right back to sleep or do we feed, wake, sleep? Also, when we do nurse at night do you let them sleep in your bed/accidentally fall asleep in your bed or do you get up and feed them in there room and put them back into there crib?

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    1. I have the same question!

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    2. Hi! After that last feeding of the night leave them to sleep until they wake up- even delaying response a bit to make sure they are really awake. They will wake every 3 hours at first and then you will see them stretch it longer as they get older. Do not do feed/wake/sleep at night- at night- change diaper, feed and immediately lay them back down to sleep. do not wake them up at the 3 hour mark- just let them sleep until they naturally wake to eat. But make sure during the day that they do not go longer than 3 hours between feedings- that will get the days and nights in the right place. Hope that helps!

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  7. Thank you for your ideas! My first was a great sleeper without much effort on my part (so I thought I was doing something right...ha ha), but I have been so frustrated with my second...I know sleep is important, but he just doesn't like it! I will definitely try some of your ideas and see if they help!

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  8. I am very thankful i found this article! I can't help but wish I read this article before a had my two girls. I feel like maybe it's too late to sleep train them. I have a 2yr old and a 7 month old. Both girls don't sleep well through the night. I am going try sleep training with my 7 month old the way you have explained in the article. Any advice for sleep training a 2 almost 3 yr old?

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  9. Just curious about the sound machine, do you keep it on all night or do you set a timer for it? I followed Baby Wise with my first daughter and still she is not a great sleeper. She does sleep 12 hours through the night but not very soundly and I have been considering getting a noice machine to help her. I am also expecting my 2nd daughter in a few months and thought that maybe I would start out with a sound machine right away for her. My only worry is if they will be able to sleep at daycare without the sound machine??? Any additional advice would be great.

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    1. That's my question too! I had assumed you leave it on all night, but it seems like a lot of the ones geared towards babies have an "auto shutoff" at 30-45 minutes so that made me wonder if it's just to fall asleep?

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  10. Hi! I was having a REALLY rough night last night with my 3 wk old (up crying from 1:16-3:05 AM) and found a link via Pinterest to your article: Newborn: Sleeping Through the Night!

    We started following the plan today and had success until about 7. It was time for nap and I knew he'd need one and wouldn't be able to stay awake till 10, however he fought it big time. He was clearly sleepy (yawning and trying to fall asleep), but unable to sleep. After about 30 mins of no luck and him vigorously trying to nurse on my shoulder, I went a head and nursed him again. This time he fell asleep (right around 8). So we let him sleep till about 8:45 woke him, with the intentions of keeping him up till the 10 pm feeding. He whaled the whole time. Not just cried, but whaled. Is this what I should be doing at 3 wks? If so, I'll keep at it. I just want to make sure I'm doing this the way it's intended. Thank you for any this you have!

    Ashley

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