When you have a newborn, it goes without saying that all bets are off when it comes to sleep. It's a dizzying adjustment being on call around the clock. But when my little one reached the 3-month mark, I felt like things were starting to stabilize... somewhat. On good days, naps were beginning to have a semblance of order, yet on other days I was pulling my hair out wondering how to get my 3-month-old baby to nap, because nothing — short of strapping on the baby carrier and walking until my legs ached — seemed to work.
If you too find yourself going to great lengths to get your 3-month-old baby to sleep (driving around the block on repeat, or shushing until your lips literally feel numb, anyone?), then you'll be heartened to know that nap schedules typically start to develop around 3 to 4 months, according to Janet K. Kennedy, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You), and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor.
Assuming your baby is getting up for the day between 6 or 7 a.m., Dr. Kennedy says that somewhere around 3 months you'll start to see "the first nap of the day becoming more reliable and lengthening to an hour or more around 8 - 9 a.m. Over the weeks that follow, the second and third naps consolidate and become reliably timed as well."
However, while some babies do fall into natural sleep rhythms, that doesn't mean that naps will magically just happen. Parents have to be vigilant about looking for sleep cues, which can include a baby "rubbing their eyes, yawning, getting fussy, or turning their head away from you," according to Christine Stevens, a Washington D.C.-based sleep consultant and founder of Sleep Solutions by Christine, in an interview with Romper.
Read the rest of the article from Romper:
As technology continues to progress, there is always some kind of new flashy new baby gear that claims to make your baby sleep. Registries grow and become more complicated. The choices are never ending! New parents find themselves torn over which items to buy that will give them the *most* success in the newborn and baby years. With all of the new, advanced sleep options for baby, it’s important to think long-term before rushing to purchase the newest baby gear.
Have you heard of the Snoo bassinet? The Snoo is a bassinet made by the company Happiest Baby that comes equipped with sound sensors, wifi, white noise speakers and a robotic motor that rocks your baby to sleep if your baby makes noise. Sounds incredibly fancy, right? All of that sleepy time magic comes with the price tag of $1,600. You also have the option now to rent a snoo near you at a cost of $500 per month!
Parents frequently ask me my opinion of the Snoo. I’ve worked with many clients that started out working with me when their baby was in the Snoo and we successfully transitioned to a crib. All the babies are sleeping well…now. Here are a few things you should consider before jumping in to buy or rent a Snoo.
How does the Snoo work?
The Snoo is an all-in-one bassinet and baby soother. It gives you the smaller space required to have your newborn sleep in your room without taking up much space, has white noise and rocks your baby to sleep. So, does it work…in short…yes! But only for a while. Online reviews rave about how well the Snoo rocks your baby back to sleep. Having the bassinet do all the work for you sounds amazing! The added sound machine and the included swaddle are both accessories of the Snoo, eliminating the need to get these separately. The biggest downside to the Snoo is the creation of a dependency on motion to get your child to sleep. When baby outgrows it or reaches the recommended age limit, you’ll need to transition to a full sized crib, mini-crib or portable crib and you’ll need to work on getting baby to sleep without motion or rocking.
What’s the cost of getting a newborn to sleep?
This first thing that jumps out at me when considering the Snoo is the price tag. $1,600 for a bassinet?! However, as a sleep consultant, I truly believe that good sleep is priceless! Consider this; a bassinet is not forever, it’s a good tool to use for a few months of life.
While a crib can be used for several years, a bassinet is typically used for about 6 months (and that’s if baby doesn’t outgrow it sooner!). All things considered, your baby will be using this bassinet for roughly 180 days. And once baby outgrows the Snoo, you’ll still need a full sized crib! For some, it’s a great tool, for others they might want to get more bang for their buck.
Will I still have to sleep train if I use the Snoo?
If you think of falling asleep like a skill that we have to learn, then yes, you will have to eventually teach baby to fall asleep without the motion of the Snoo. For instance, if a baby is constantly being rocked to sleep by a bassinet, they form a sleep habit. Once it comes time to transition from the Snoo to the crib, then this habit will need to be changed in order to teach baby how to fall asleep without the motion. The transition may prove to be harder than it would be with a standard bassinet or portable cri,b and parents should consider if this challenge is worth it.
For some babies, the change from the Snoo to a crib can be hard and will require some prior planning to manage the transition. Weaning and transitioning from the Snoo can be done cold turkey but parents should consider gentler methods to do it as well.
So what should you do?
No matter what bassinet you use, you and your baby CAN achieve good sleep. By doing a bit of research and weighing out the options, you and your partner can make the right decision for your family.
What about you? Have you ever used a Snoo? What are your honest reviews? I would love to hear your thoughts!
And if you’re not sure how to transition out of the Snoo, please reach out.
New parents are oftentimes surprised to learn that hitting certain development milestones in their baby’s life will interfere with their sleep habits. One of these first development milestones happens at around four months of age. Commonly referred to as the four month sleep regression, it’s a huge mental and physical growth spurt, and it is no joke! Babies’ sleep patterns shift during this time and you will find that they wake often during the night and have a hard time going back to sleep.
From the moment they are born, babies' brains are constantly evolving and adapting to the new environment. During this time, your baby may be learning new skills such as rolling over or sitting up. This intense time of physical effort and growth can interrupt even the best sleeper’s habits.
If your awesome sleeper of a newborn all of a sudden starts waking at all hours, and it’s left you thinking “what in the world is going on?” then you may have entered the four month sleep regression. Newborns typically sleep around 16-18 hours a day, but by the age of 3 to 4 months, babies begin sleeping a little less at around 15-16 hours per day. This adjustment can be tricky for baby to navigate and can also result in additional night time wakings.
So what can you do?
First, it’s important to watch Baby to understand what is going on. Is this a sleep regression caused by developmental milestones, or might there be something else at play such as an illness?
Second, since this is an intense period of learning new skills, it’s a good idea to allow your baby uninterrupted time to practice these new skills during the day. It can be easy to want to step in when they are struggling with things like rolling over or grasping an object, but allowing them space to attempt a new skill, will also help them to exert effort and become more tired when it comes time to nap or sleep.
Third, make sure Baby is taking in full feeds during the day and right before bedtime. Any period of brain development and growth requires more caloric intake for babies. Ensuring they are full and satisfied will keep hungry tummies from waking baby when they should be resting. It’s ok to offer a quick snack feed about 20-30 minutes before you get Baby ready for a nap to top him/her off.
Lastly, as I always recommend, stick to your routine and keep Baby’s room dark. Having a consistent and predictable bedtime routine will cue Baby to the fact that it’s time to sleep. When wakings do inevitably happen, keeping the room as dark as you can will aid in helping Baby to fall back asleep.
You can’t avoid sleep regressions altogether, but you can control how you handle them. Remember that babies can’t tell us what’s going on, so we want to respond with love and comfort. From a few days to a week or two, the regression will end. Remind yourself that this is a short term hiccup and baby will go back to sleeping at night soon.
Let's hear from you! Have you made it through the four month sleep regression? What worked for you?
If you’re not sure if it’s the 4 month, or any other sleep regression, book a free 15-minute call with me and we can talk specifically about your situation to determine what’s going on.
I received so many questions last week about naps and daycare that it inspired me to do a blog post about it. I got questions such as “How do I talk with my provider?” and “Do I just give them a schedule?” so I wanted to address the most common ones I hear.
Whether it’s with a family member, a daycare class with multiple children, a homebased daycare with different age ranges or with a nanny, ensuring your child’s caregivers provide the same consistency that you give at home will keep your little one sleeping well while you’re away. Besides, you shouldn’t lose all of the great work you’ve done with your child’s sleep as soon as they leave your arms!
Sleep begets sleep… crappy naps = crappy night sleep, plain and simple. If your child gets good naps during the day, then they’ll sleep better at night.
Let me know if this has ever happened to you…you leave your baby or toddler in the care of someone else while you’re at work, that you absolutely trust, but you spend at least some of your day worrying that your little one is taking good nap(s). Sound familiar?
So what’s the best way to start the conversation about your child’s naps with your daycare provider?
Read on to check out my favorite tips for creating a great sleep relationship with your daycare provider.
Tip #1: What is your provider’s policy on naps?
Do all of the children in the class nap at the same time or do the provider(s) put them to bed when they’re tired? If your provider has a set nap time for all children, such as 12:30pm for children over 12 months of age, then try to stick with the same schedule at home. If your child sleeps well at daycare but not at home, stick with the same naptime schedule and allow your child some quiet time to rest and play quietly with a stuffed animal or book.
If your child is under 12 months of age, talk with your provider about your baby’s current schedule to make sure your baby isn’t awake too long in between naps, naps are evenly spaced throughout the day and is being put to sleep in a similar fashion like you’re doing at home. Talk with your provider about your nap schedule at home and ask them to put baby down around the same time.
If your provider has a differing opinion about your baby’s nap schedule, see how you can come to a compromise. When all else fails, call me and I’ll mediate!
Tip #2: Where does your child sleep?
Movies or music playing, bright rooms, other kids running around…what’s a baby to do when it’s time to get to sleep?
Take a look at the area where your child will sleep. If baby is under 12 months of age, they should certainly be sleeping in a crib or pack ‘n play, never in a swing, car seat or bouncy seat. Ask them to put your child to sleep in the darkest part of the room as possible. If your baby uses a sleep sack or other wearable blanket, have a second just for daycare. Talk with your provider to find out the process they use to put children down for a nap and see how close you can get it to your way of doing things. And if your child isn’t used to being held and rocked to sleep, suggest that your provider doesn’t either.
Tip #3: Keep track of naps
When you pick up your child at the end of the day, ask your about how the day went…how were naps, how long did they last and when did they occur? Bonus points if your provider provides emails or text messages with a log of this information! If your child’s nap was a shorter than normal or skipped a nap, consider putting them to bed a little early (about 30 minutes) that night to catch up on some much needed sleep.
Not sure if your baby has the right nap schedule? Send me a note at christine@sleepsolutionsbychristine and we’ll schedule a time to chat through it and find the right nap schedule for your baby or child.
Walking through a large store last weekend with my daughter, she asked to go through the Halloween section. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised but also excited that she’s starting to enjoy one of my favorite holidays! We turned down the aisle and she ran right past the candy, the girly costumes, the silly masks… then stopped cold in her tracks in the face of a creepy looking clown thing that you hang up on your front porch to greet trick or treaters. The look on her face said it all… Yikes!
I often meet parents who say their child doesn't nap and it's one of the major reasons that nighttime sleep doesn't go well either. Ensuring your child is getting enough age-appropriate daytime sleep is a key component of good nighttime sleep... so how do you know?
First, newborns up to 3 months of age should be taking 4-5 naps per day, babies 3-6 months 3-4 naps, babies 6-11 months 2-3 naps and babies 12 months and older usually take 1 nap per day. Naps should be around an hour in length.