Just like with any other hard earned habit that relapsed over the last few days, it can be painful getting your child back on track with sleep after the holidays.
In most cases, cold turkey is the best approach to getting your child back to sleeping independently, all night long, in their own bed.
If you did cry it out (or Ferber, or the chair method) to initially sleep train, go right back to your sleep training plan. If you were offering night feeds while staying with friends or family, it’s fine to wean off those cold turkey if your baby or toddler wasn’t eating at night prior to the holiday. Otherwise, I suggest a more gradual approach.
If you didn’t break your habits for too many nights, it should be a fairly quick reset, although not necessarily painless. If your child was in your bed for a few nights, they will certainly protest returning to their own beds. But the protests shouldn’t last more than 1-3 nights, unless you made exceptions for many nights in a row.
Likewise, try to get them back to their normal, hopefully healthy, diet as soon as possible. Offer plenty of fruits and vegetables to ward off any constipation associated with too many sweet and starchy holiday or travel snacks. Try to get them outside for fresh air and exercise every day this week. That will help get them eating more healthfully again AND sleeping better – fresh air and outdoor exposure to daylight always help sleep.
And if sleep has gotten further off track and you want to end the year with a well-rested family, schedule a free consult and consider great sleep the gift you are giving yourself for the new year.
Holidays with loved ones can be really fun for little ones... and highly stressful, too. All that excitement is exhausting!
Of course I'm going to suggest you keep the schedule the same as usual, to the extent possible. But what about when it's not possible?
For twice a day nappers, try to prioritize getting the first nap in the crib or, if you must travel and you have flexible timing, in the car. Many babies will sleep reasonably well in the car. If you can get one good nap in, it's less risky to compromise the quality of the second one.
For the second nap, or the one nap for older babies and toddlers, all bets are off. Drive around the neighborhood 47 times -- ideally with someone you don't get to see very often for company -- or do a stroller nap. Your little one, once past the age of newborn oblivion, is probably not going to nap well in a brand new environment and it may not be worth trying. Of course, if you are staying somewhere for several days and your child has already slept there the previous night, they may be able to nap successfully there.
Try, as much as you can, to keep bedtime the same. As your loved ones to move the holiday meal earlier or prepare yourself to feed your child early and put them to bed at the regular time, even if your family is disappointed by this decision. Your extended family doesn't understand that missing bedtime will lead to overtiredness, which can be miserable for everyone.
After the big day, get back to your regular routine, as much as you can while traveling. Hopefully after the big day, your family or friends will be more understanding of your need to prioritize your child's schedule. But not everyone without young children will know or remember how important good sleep is, so don't be afraid to gently remind them.
Make sure to get your child outside for fresh air at regular intervals. That will help regulate their mood as well as their sleep. Exercise for toddlers and older children can help tremendously with overstimulation fatigue.
And no matter what, as soon as you get back home, buckle down and do a quick reset to the old routine. The faster you get back to your excellent routine, the easier it will be to get back on track.
If you'd like a well-rested family before the end of year, set up a free consult and get the sleep your family needs to enjoy their time together.
Six months is when I usually recommend to my clients that they switch from an wake-window schedule to a clock-based schedule (meaning the baby goes down for naps at roughly the same time each day, mostly regardless of how long baby slept).
Since my daughter is now 6 months, I am sharing our current schedule and how we got here.
At 5 months old, Valentina was taking a monster 3 hour nap every morning, 6-9 am, and then not napping more than 30 minutes at a stretch the rest of the day. This made life difficult for me – it was hard to get things done with just a 30 minute break – and it wasn’t ideally restful for her, either.
I recently implemented some changes that have led to much longer naps and a happier baby. Things I would have suggested sooner to my clients but it's easy to lack insight when it comes to your own baby!
This is a rough approximation of our current schedule. Times listed are when she goes into the crib, not necessarily when she falls asleep. That said, she usually falls asleep quickly, in 5-15 minutes. Although I don’t use wake windows, I will adjust the nap time up to 30 minutes earlier or later if she seems especially tired or alert.
Morning wake time: 6:30 am
First nap: 9 am – max 1 hour
Second nap: 12 pm – max 2 hours
Third nap: 4 pm – I don’t cap it but typically 30-45 minutes
Bedtime: 7 pm
About feedings: I had started to allow her to feed more on demand before, and noticed that naps got shorter and she started having more night wakings as a result, exactly what I did not want. We have now gone back to scheduled feeds and she’s sleeping much better. Feeding on demand sounds great in theory but it does not work well for sleep in my experience.
It's important to note that I do not feed right before sleep, with the exception of the bedtime feed. Feeding to sleep can lead to night wakings, which we obviously want to avoid.
Feedings are generally breastfeeding except I offer a big bottle of pumped milk at the final feeding, about 6-8 ounces. If she doesn’t take most of it, I will do a dream feed at 8:30 pm.
I do not do overnight feedings unless she cries hard during the night and isn’t soothed by the pacifier, in which case, I nurse her for 2 minutes, exactly, then put her back in the crib. She doesn’t cry for more than a few seconds after this.
Since I have implemented these changes in the last few days, Valentina is getting much longer naps during the first two naps of the day.
More importantly, aside from me getting longer breaks during the day, Valentina is noticeably more alert, talkative, and smiley. She clearly feels so good after those longer naps. I am once again reminded that schedules make for happier children!
PS If you’d like help getting your little one onto a better schedule that is more restful for the whole family, I’m here to help. Schedule a free consult and find out how you can have a beautifully well-rested family in 2 weeks or less, guaranteed.
Many of us have been taught to believe that middle of the night wakings are normal for young children, far beyond the small baby stage. But few (none?) of us enjoy them.
Often on consultations, parents' eyes get wide when I tell them that they really don't have to offer a night feeding past the age of, say, 6 months. (You are certainly welcome to offer one past this age, but it isn't required.) Reading on parent groups on Facebook, I see that many parents will offer a night feeding even at ages 2 or 3... and that it's normal for a toddler to need a peanut butter sandwich or serving of milk at 2 am. This is not true and I would argue, not even healthy.
Regardless, if you are struggling with middle of the night wakings and want to be sleeping through the night, here are the top things to investigate.
The first culprit is overtiredness. If you have worked with me before, or you've done your sleep research, you know that overtiredness produces a stress hormone, cortisol, that makes it harder for children to fall asleep and stay asleep. The more tired they are, the more they wake up. These children usually wake up cranky in the morning. They often appear like they are the Energizer Bunny in the late afternoon or early evening.
The second culprit is habit. If your child is used to receiving attention when he or she wakes up in the middle of the night -- whether it's a feeding, a cuddle, a parent lying down with the child, or even scolding the child -- your child will continue waking up at night. Even with negative attention, your child would rather have that than no attention from you at all. It's normal for children to want to be with their adults at night... but normal doesn't mean healthy. It's better for everyone -- with a few exceptions, namely children who have endured trauma and need extra nighttime attention -- to get good sleep at night.
The third culprit is much less common, and that is undertiredness. If your child is dealing with this, she is likely going to bed very early and/or taking a very long nap. They then have a "split night," wherein they wake up for a while in the middle of the night. These children are typically cheerful when they wake up in the middle of the night and are ready to play, unlike children waking from overtiredness or habit. After 2-4 hours, they have built up enough sleep pressure to fall asleep again, and then will sleep until the morning. These children typically do not seem overtired in the morning.
If your child's issue is overtiredness, they need an earlier bedtime. This is always the first thing i suggest trying.
If the issue is habit, you need to either gradually or abruptly eliminate the nighttime habit. If you are offering a feeding at night, gradually reduce the volume of it. If you are lying down with your child at night, start sitting next to their bed instead, and gradually move your chair further and further from them.
Don't try ruling out undertiredness unless the other two options have been eliminated -- this is quite rare. If this is suspected culprit, shorten or eliminate the nap first. Only after that has been attempted should you move bedtime later. Most children under six need a bedtime between 6:30 and 7:30 pm -- quite a bit earlier than the American norm.
PS I hope you are all sleeping gloriously after "falling back" on Sunday night but if you aren't, help is available. Schedule a free consult and find out how your family can be sleeping beautifully through the night in two weeks or less, guaranteed.
Ahh, fall, crisp leaves, chilly mornings, and darkness that falls before your child is home from school.
Daylight Savings Time ends in most of the United States on Sunday, November 5. Hawaii and Arizona no longer have DST.
Ideally, you would have started preparing your children already but it's not too late to soften the blow for your children if they easily affected by time changes. Babies are usually the least affected and older children and adolescents can be quite affected.
Starting Friday night, put your child to bed 15 minutes later than usual. So if bedtime is usually 7, make it 7:15. In the morning, try to get them to sleep 15 minutes later. Move meal times and nap times 15 minutes later too.
It's important to not do more than 15 minutes per day if you can avoid it, because over tiredness can backfire and lead to early morning wakings or night wakings.
On Saturday night, put your child to bed 30 minutes later, so 7:30 instead of 7 pm. Move wake time, mealtimes, and nap times 30 minutes later the next day... which is Sunday, standard time. So in reality, you'll be putting them to nap at 8:30 and 12:30 but their body clocks will feel like it's 9:30 and 1:30.
(This assumes that you have flexibility on Sunday with regard to outside obligations.)
On Sunday night, you'll put them to bed at what feels like 7:45 pm but is actually 6:45. And Monday night you'll put them to bed at 7 pm standard time, which will feel like 8 pm. Then you'll stay with this bedtime from then on.
Changing time zones is no fun but making the change gradually can definitely make the transition less painful.
PS If you need help with too-late bedtimes, too-early wake times, night wakings, or inadvertent bed sharing, you are not alone. Schedule a free consult and find out how you can get your family sleeping beautifully in 2 weeks or less, guaranteed.
Weaning off the swaddle can be an intimidating thought.
I admit I was nervous to make the switch, too! But Valentina is now 5 months old and although she still shows no interest in rolling onto her stomach, lately she's been waking up more at night in need of a pacifier reinsertion. I thought that moving towards sleeping in a sleep sack might help because she could access her hands for soothing without needing adult assistance.
Using the Magic Merlin sleep suit really helped the transition for my middle child and someone gifted us a used one for Valentina so that made my decision easy.
We started using the Merlin for her first nap on Sunday. Not surprisingly, she was very confused to be put in her crib without her swaddle for the first time, and needed some assistance falling asleep. I ended up rocking and singing for a bit but laid her down not fully asleep. She woke up every 30 minutes during that first nap but was able to fall back to sleep again multiple times with some chest patting and shushing.
For the second nap, I was able to lie her down with minimal rocking and she had fewer wakings. Yay!
And by bedtime, after napping in the Merlin for every nap that day, she was able to put herself to sleep independently. She woke up 4 times that night for pacifier reinsertions.
But last night, night two, she didn't wake up once!!!
And this morning, she (accidentally) fell asleep on my bed while I was pumping without any help or even a pacifier. So she's definitely getting the hang of unassisted sleep.
I don't have a firm date in mind but plan to move her to a standard sleep sack soon. I ordered two Woolino merino wool sleep sacks that should help her stay warm because it can get very cold in our uninsulated, unheated house in December and January. They are pricey but fit up until age 2 so hopefully it was a wise investment.
I thought I would share our experience in case you are feeling intimidated by the transition as well.
My tips, based on our experience:
1. Start with the first nap of the day, because that is typically the easiest nap for your baby to fall asleep.
2. Start the transition on a day where you can be home to assist with naps. A quiet weekend day was ideal for us.
3. Don't hesitate to assist with falling asleep if your baby is struggling. Just try to offer a little less assistance with each nap.
***I didn't need to do this but it's fine to skip the Magic Merlin and do a nap in whatever fashion you like for the final nap of the day.
4. After a full day of naps in the Magic Merlin, your baby should be ready to sleep in it at bedtime!
***I didn't need to do this but if nighttime sleep is a struggle, it's fine to just use the Merlin for the first part of the night and then revert back to the swaddle. Just keep trying and your baby will soon adjust.
****The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends stopping the use of the swaddle once your baby begins to try to roll, which typically occurs, they say, at ages 3-4 months but could be earlier.
PS If you'd like help getting your own baby (or older child!) sleeping peacefully through the night, schedule a free consult and find out how your family can be beautifully well-rested in two weeks or less, guaranteed.
I thought it would be interesting for other parents to read my story of night weaning while I was doing it so that you can know the good, the bad, and the ugly and not just my romanticized version months or years later. Not because I would lie but because it's easy to forget the details once you're out of the experience.
So here it is, in (excruciating?) detail, logging as frequently as I could remember despite the sleep deprivation.
September 18, 2023
V is 4 months now and those 10+ hour stretches at night haven’t been seen for a while.
Meanwhile, despite her low birth weight, just 5 pounds even, she looks chubbier than ever. Her doctor is pleased with her growth. And I’m back to work and exercise and ready for better sleep.
Night one, Sunday, September 18: I asked my partner to feed her a bottle of exactly 3 oz during the night, planning to decrease a half ounce every other night. I figure she’ll protest less with him than if I nurse her.
He feeds her at 1:30 am (earlier than usual) and she spits up everything, requiring an outfit change and not one but two trips to the kitchen, all the lights on, with a wailing hungry baby.
Total time awake: 2+ hours.
Night two, Monday, September 19th. New plan. I scrap the bottle idea and decide I’ll nurse her instead and decrease the time by 1/2 minute every other night. I figure not having to turn lights on to heat a bottle and wait for said bottle to warm is worthwhile in terms of keeping the baby sleepy and thus, getting her back down again. Less ideal for my sleep but a win for my partner!
She wakes up at 1:30 am, earlier than usual again, after eating every 2 hours all day, more frequent than usual AND downing a huge bottle of pumped milk before bed.
I nervously nurse her for just 4 min 30 seconds and to my amazement, she doesn’t protest at all being put back in the crib.
HOWEVER, she then wakes up again at 5, a first. Darn.
So I give her a full feeding, then drink some Mother’s Milk Tea while I pump. This is to try to bump up my supply, because prolactin, the hormone that leads to breast milk production, is highest in the early morning.
I’ll be tired later but I’ll exercise when I’m done and who knows, maybe I can grab a nap later? Unlikely but one can dream, right?
I remind myself the end of night feeds is hopefully in sight. This lost sleep is an investment in the long term good.
New plan: try to feed no more frequently than every 3 hours during the day. This helped night sleep with her older sisters. Of course, it was when we went to every 4 hours during the day that I saw the really dramatic gains in night sleep. But I’m not sure if I’m emotionally ready for that with this formerly tiny 5 pounder, plus I’m not sure if my milk supply can handle it.
So we’ll try for every 3 hour feeds today and hopefully a 4:30 am feed during the "night" tonight today and cross our fingers she sleeps later than 1 am.
In my experience, reducing the size of night feeds makes that gradually shift later. Let’s hope that’s true for V!
Wed 9/20, Day 3
Yesterday I tried feeding V on a schedule, every 3 hours, instead of when she felt like it, which was more like every 2 hours the previous day (but which is not typical for her).
To my surprise, today she has not cried to eat even once.
To be clear, I still feed her, but I do it based on the clock. It’s amazing to me that in just one day, she’s already crying a lot less! Just like I remember with her sisters. I fed them on a schedule and they never cried.
I also tried a new tactic last night. I skipped her 5:30 pm feed because it would have only been two hours since her previous feed. At the bedtime feed, she was sufficiently full after nursing that topping her up with a bottle would have likely led to massive spit up.
So I put her to bed without that extra meal and then, instead of pumping at bedtime, I nursed her again, a Dream Feed (which I don’t usually recommend for 4 month olds but given her propensity for massive spit up, seemed like a good idea, rather than trying to pack in the calories before bed).
She woke up at 1:30 am, as she had the two previous nights, but when I offered her her pacifier, she went back to sleep until 4 am! That was a win compared to the two previous nights, anyway.
I was nervous to only nurse her for 4 and a half minutes (again) at 4 am, but to my surprise, she only cried for a minute or two once I put her back in the crib.
Of course, she woke up at 6 am, only 2 hours later, but that’s a much more acceptable feeding time so I gave a full feed then and did not wait for the 3 hour mark.
Tonight I will reduce the feed to 4 minutes flat. Fingers crossed it isn’t a disaster! Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to just go cold turkey on night feeds, but that feels unfair, so I’ll continue on with the gradual night wean.
Mon Sep 25, day 5?
The gradual night wean continues. Last night I reduced to 3:30. Once again, same as the night before, she only cried for a few seconds. I patted her gently on the chest until she quieted, then left.
(I missed reporting about a night where she cried for two hours after a short feed. I can't remember now which night it was, maybe the 4th night. It was excruciating but it hasn't happened again since. It seems she got the memo about short night feeds!)
She once again slept without a peep until 5:30 am. It’s interesting: her room is a little alcove off my room that we walled off to make a nursery. The door has slats in it, lower down, since there is no other ventilation source. And every morning when my sunrise alarm clock lights up – even before there’s noise – she wakes up. So I guess she’s very light sensitive in the morning, as light through the door doesn’t usually wake her.
Anyway, although I normally advise a wake time between 6 and 7 am, a wake time at 5:30 am works very well for me as I can then feed her before I work out. After that, I pop her in her baby gym next to me while I work out. And when she’s tired, I just hit pause on my workout and put her in her crib. Then I’m free to finish my workout, shower, and get the big kids off to school.
An interesting observation: since I’ve switched her to every 4 hour feeds, she’s napping much more during the day. And seems generally happier.
Tues 9/26, night 6
Guys, I’m tired. So, so, so tired. The weaning schedule + workout schedule is wearing me out.
Last night, I didn’t have it in me to do a dream feed. So when she woke up at 3 am, I did a full feed. I’m feeling discouraged. I think my milk supply is down, probably because i haven’t pumped in a few days.
On the plus side, she took 2 2-3 hour naps yesterday! But then the afternoon naps were kind of a sh*t show. Possibly because she was hungry from me not having enough milk.
So after her evening bath, I nursed her briefly and then my partner gave her a 4 ounce bottle. We hadn’t done many bottles recently because I felt like they were making her impatient with breastfeeding. .
But obviously I didn’t want her hungry during the night. And I needed sleep so badly.
Fingers crossed we have a better night tonight. I am feeling a bit broken from the sleep deprivation.
Wednesday 9/27 Night 7
Guys, SHE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!! Well, 8 pm to 5:15 am. A little shorter than I typically aim for but a freaking miracle for me. I went to sleep at 8:30 pm and actually woke up before her, at 5 am. I think my body was confused by all the sleep!
I drank Mother’s Milk Tea yesterday to combat the supply issues so I’m a veritable fountain this morning. She nursed on one side only and went straight back in the crib. I pumped briefly, so that I’ll have enough for tonight’s dream feed PLUS hopefully bolster the daytime supply, and am ready to workout at 6 am. And feeling very, very grateful!
I am not sure if this was just a fluke or if the night weaning process was successful… fingers crossed it was the former. I will keep you posted!
I will try for a dream feed tonight with the bottle, although until a couple of nights ago, she was full enough from the breast that she didn’t want it. I am not quite sure how to duplicate yesterday’s poor afternoon naps, and will assume that wasn’t related anyway. Fingers crossed!!!
Thursday, Sept 28, night 8
Well, darn. She was up early, at like 2 am, but went back to sleep with the pacifier. Then up again at 3 am. We tried letting her cry but after 15 minutes, it wasn’t letting up (it didn’t start out intense but gradually ramped up). So I fed her but reduced the feeding time again, this time to 3 minutes, and then good news is that she didn’t cry at all afterwards and immediately went back to sleep.
The less good news is that she didn’t then make it to 5:30 am – she starting squawking around 5:15.
So, being my own coach here and trying to diagnose what went wrong… I think it all started with the morning feed at 5:30 am yesterday being too small because she was sleepy. I patted her back to sleep instead of making sure she really filled up. As a result, she was hungry again at 7:30 am, 2.5 hours later, and needed to eat then. Although then she waited 4 hours for the next feed, and even slightly over 4 hours for the one after that… but then only 2 hours before the final feed of the day. And then 2 hours again before the Dream Feed. Where she barely ate at all, despite plenty of milk.
So maybe needing an extra morning feed threw things off? (Thank goodness for the Baby Tracker app so that I can go back and see what happened.)
So today I will try to be really strict on her every 4 hour schedule. 5:30, 9:30, 1:30, 5:30… and then the Dream Feed no earlier than 8:30, and if I have the energy to stay up longer, ideally at 9 or 9:30. That way she will hopefully take a much larger feed at the Dream Feed. I doubt she took even 2 ounces last night (1 from me and 1 from the bottle… she wasn’t interested in more).
Fingers tightly crossed for better luck tonight!
Saturday September 30, night 10
Forgot to log yesterday. I think she was up early, around 2 or 3 am, and I nursed her for 3 min and then she went down without a peep and slept until morning.
Then last night we went out and my 12 yo daughter babysat (!) and that messed up bedtime a bit — the baby had a hard time settling down and had two small bedtime bottles.
I fed her again before I went to bed, around 9:30 pm, and she SLEPT UNTIL 5:05 am!!! I went ahead with a full feed bc we were so close to the 5:30 goal. Then I put her back to bed and ME back to bed and we each slept two glorious hours more. Hallelujah.
I accidentally let her go 5h without a feed today, by miscounting. She was asleep and I had to wake her to eat. Otherwise she’s eating approximately every four hours and is very content, much more so than when she was eating more frequently.
She had a lot of trouble settling tonight so got to sleep late, around 7:30. I hope the dream feed will go ok. I’m trying to wait to do it but it’s 8:50 and I’m already tired.
Sunday October 1, night 11
After a slightly inauspicious start, guys, she slept until 5:47 am!!!! Since my goal is 5:30 on weekdays, this was another win, even bigger than the previous night bc a) she slept later, 5:47 versus 5:05 but also b) there were zero wakings where I had to go replace the paci! This makes for a much more restful sleep, hooray!
Today was a weird day bc recently she’s only been taking short afternoon naps after two long naps, but today she took a long late nap and not surprisingly, went to bed much later but also was harder to settle. She also seems to be much hungrier than usual. Maybe a growth spurt? So I gave a couple of bottles of pumped milk and drank some mothers milk tea.
She woke up after only an hour at 8:40 so I fed her then. Fingers crossed for another successful night! If we can get 3 in q row, I can (nervously) call her night weaned. Eek!
Monday Oct 2, night 11
She did it!!! She slept until 5:24!!!!
That’s 3 nights in a row so I am declaring her night weaned!!!
I am sure it won’t be 100% smooth sailing forever but now I know she can go 3 nights in a row without eating, I feel (mostly) confident that if she wakes up at night, I’ll be able to hold strong on not feeding. That doesn’t mean I’ll never do it again, but I’ll try not to.
I remember with my middle daughter that at 9 months old, I experimented with giving water instead of milk for the occasional night waking and was shocked to find that she accepted it readily. She was just thirsty!!!
Of course, Valentina is still too young to drink water but once she’s past the 6 month mark, I’ll try that.
Thanks for following along with our night weaning story! I hope it gives you confidence to know that it is doable and also that it’s stressful, even for sleep coaches!
Tues Oct 3
Of course I jinxed myself!
She was up at 3:45 and I finally gave in and fed her at 4:45 bc my partner couldn’t get her back to sleep without. Would’ve been even harder if I had gone in.
But I only did 2 min and put her back and she didn't cry at all and slept until my alarm lit up at 5:45.
Wed a Oct 4
Was soooo tired i had my partner so the dream feed so I could go to bed earlier but then I only dozed while he fed her so maybe it was not worth it.
But she slept until 5:05! And then was quiet until 5:30 after a paci re insertion.
Sat Oct 6
Valentina slept until 6:20 am yesterday!
And 5:47 today despite a 1:30 am waking! My partner changed her and reswaddled her, for reasons that are unclear to me, admist howls, then patted her and put her back down. It took two attempts but he was able to put her back down and leave! Despite her practically skipping her late morning feed yesterday — we were out to brunch and she was uninterested or too distracted.
I’m having more confidence now! If she could skip a feed yesterday and still be fine last night, and still be very obviously gaining weight… we've arrived! For sure.
Sun Oct 7
Well, I jinxed myself again! She was up 3-4:30 am and just would not settle, even with my partner walking her and patting her and giving her the paci.
Finally I nursed her for 2 minutes at 4:30 and she STILL wouldn’t settle – a first since the first night of night weaning – so I gave in and nursed her for 5+ minutes and then she passed out and slept for 5 hours!
I think she didn’t eat enough the previous day because we were on the go much of the day with family in town. She was too distracted to eat well. And in the evening, we were on a windy rooftop and I think she was too uncomfortable with all the blankets and breeze to eat.
It’s obviously not ideal to have a baby out all day and also… sometimes your family comes to visit from another country and you decide to prioritize that. This is real life.
Monday October 9
Valentina's feedings went better yesterday in that she seemed to eat every hour in the afternoon, so it seemed like she was trying to make up for the previous day. Finally she accepted a bottle in the late afternoon and chugged 5 ounces of pumped milk. (What with eating every hour, I don’t think I had all that much milk to give in any one sitting.)
Then she slept 5:30-9:30 pm and I woke her for a Dream Feed. After nursing so frequently all afternoon plus chugging tons of water, I had LOTS of milk.
She was up at 3:45, 4:30, 5, 5:17 and finally I woke her at 5:30 BUT she settled each time with the pacifier. Still not ideal, obviously, but she didn’t eat all night so I am taking that as a win and now the cousins are all gone and we’ll get back to our good schedule today. I’m about to wake her from a 3 hour nap! (6:30-9:30 am, her first morning nap is always her longest, which is really a continuation of night sleep.)
Tuesday, October 10
Valentina went to bed at 6:45 pm, had a dream feed at 8:50 (breastfeeding plus 2 ounces of a bottle) and then we had to wake her up at 5:45 am! Zero night wakings!
I'm going to stop logging now but I wanted to share all the details so you all could get a sense of what it feels like to night wean. Lots of ups and downs but clear progress! And now, even with her night weaned at newly 5 months, I am sure there will be occasional exceptions.
It definitely felt harder with this baby than my other two but maybe I have amnesia about the other two? You can clearly see that progress isn’t linear and yet, it still worked! And she’ll probably not be 100% for a while yet but the rare exception is still a TON better than nightly feedings!
I’m very grateful to have had support this time around from my partner. Having the mental fortitutde to do this alone is TOUGH. That said, I did do it alone with my first two kids and it can be done. And the sleep deprivation if you don’t do it and you’re solo parenting is also tough so… choose your hard. I choose the one that leads to sleeping all night sooner rather than later!
PS If you'd like your baby -- or older child -- to sleep through the night, there is hope for you! My other two were sleeping through the night at 10 weeks old. Schedule a free consult and have a well-rested family in two weeks or less, guaranteed.
Adding a new baby to your family is a time of great excitement… and great fatigue, of course.
While it’s inevitable that the baby’s parents are exhausted, everyone will be much happier if the big sibling is well-rested.
Here are some tips to help make that happen.
Last but not least, if you are struggling to get your older child’s sleep on track with the disruption that a new baby brings to the family, you are not alone. Life with a newborn is tough. Try to be kind to everyone, most especially yourself, and remember that while those exhausting days feel endless, in reality they (usually) pass quickly.
PS If you'd like help getting your family's sleep on track, schedule a free consult and discover how you can have a much easier family life with a well- rested older child, even with a new baby in your home.
Never before released: Meet Abby and get advice on how to prevent and treat the 4-month sleep regression.
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When trying to stretch your baby from every 3 hours or less to every 3 hours or more (ideally every 4 hours) in order to improve your baby's nighttime and daytime sleep, scheduling your baby’s feeding times can be tricky.
Parents often ask about this and it’s top of mind for me right now becauseI am currently dealing with this with my own baby! In a nutshell, prioritize sleep schedules over feeding schedules.
That may mean that you need to feed your baby right before she goes down for a nap. In that case, it’s recommended to move it a few minutes earlier to (hopefully) prevent your baby from falling asleep while eating.
Continue to move the feeds a few minutes further apart each day until you have arrived at your ideal schedule. Once you are there, you can more carefully schedule your baby’s feeding times around her naps.
The most common feeding schedule is 7-11-3-7ish but it doesn’t need to be exact. In the case of this schedule, I would actually recommend that your baby’s final feeding be at 6:30 so that she is in the crib at 7 pm. She’ll then wake up a few minutes before 7, most likely, in order to be ready to eat at about 7.
I generally recommend that babies start their days between 6 and 7 am, but if your family’s schedule would do better with a slightly different schedule for your baby, that’s fine as long as it’s not too different. For example, I would never recommend a 10 am to 10 pm schedule, because that is too different than when daylight and darkness happen (unless you live close to the Arctic Circle, in which case all bets are off).
But for my family, it works best if the baby wakes up at 5:30 am and eats then so that I can work out immediately afterwards, before I am occupied with the other children. This seems to work fine for her for the time being but I may have to adjust it as she grows older. Time will tell.
As they say, the only constant with babies is change!
If you can’t quite believe that your baby could sleep through the night and be on a more predictable daytime schedule… there’s hope for you! Schedule a free consult and let me show you how we can make it happen. Results are guaranteed or your money back.
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and certified life coach for parents. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.