I’m so happy with all of the positive feedback I got regarding Ashley Fultz’s tip on getting your baby to sleep! No matter how much of an expert you are, there is always something new to learn. So even though I feel like I’m getting the hang of motherhood, I still find myself browsing resources online to get the low-down on what’s to come, what I can do better, and the best ways to manage a firstborn child!
One amazing resource I stumbled across is The Sleep Dept. Sleep and babies don’t always go hand in hand, but everyone needs a few hours of shut eye to function! Using a gentle technique, The Sleep Dept. will educate and encourage you (and your baby!) to get a full night’s sleep by creating a sleeping plan that is designed for your child.
Every baby is different, so you’ll need to consult with The Sleep Dept. to lock on a routine that works for you. But, I’ve learned SO much from them and wanted to chat with one of their Infant Sleep Consultants, Erika Lamour, to have her answer common sleep questions and provide insight on how to tackle them! See below for our Q&A:
I’ve heard that my baby’s sleep pattern will likely change when she hits the 4-month mark. Why?
Ah yes… The dreaded 4-month sleep regression where sleeping patterns change and become more like an adult. Your baby’s brain has matured, gone are the days where your little newborn could fall into a deep sleep at the drop of a hat. Now, they start to sleep more like us — they begin to go through light and deep sleep cycles. This means that each time your baby’s sleep cycle goes from deep to light, they will most likely wake up (that’s every 40-45 minutes!).
While many parents fear the 4-month sleep regression, it really shouldn’t be seen as a regression but more so a developmental milestone, and a time to implement a sleep program that’s right for you and your baby.
How can I get my baby to sleep through the entire night? Is it better to establish these habits early on?
There are definitely foundations you can set early on to create great sleep habits, but the 0 to 3-month stage of your baby’s life really should be referred to as the 4th trimester. Babies are making a HUGE transition from womb to world — coming from an environment that is dark, warm, and well-nourished to suddenly being exposed to light, different temperatures and hunger. Whilst it’s not a great idea to have your newborn on a time-based schedule, if you make sure your newborn is awake for no longer than 60-75 minutes between sleeps, you are on your way to creating great habits.
Pacifier are lifesavers, but it always falls out in the middle of the night. Any advice?
Uh-oh! Paci’s are great to settle and soothe newborns, but what happens when you are up 10 times in the middle of the night popping it back into your baby’s mouth? The best thing to do is cut it – COLD TURKEY! I know it sounds scary! But if it is being used as a sleep association it WILL wake your baby in the middle of the night and when they can’t find it, it may cause confusion and distress. We need to guide babies in having their own sleep associations that they create all themselves. All the babies who implement ‘The Sleep Dept’ program get used to having no paci on night 1! Instead, replace the paci for a small comforter.
What is the best way to handle a baby that will NOT go to sleep or stay asleep? And why does this happen?!
The simple answer is — they haven’t been allowed to figure it out on their own. When we introduce external sleeping associations, such as feeding or rocking a baby to sleep, we take that away from them. We don’t want a baby to be falling asleep outside of their cot (easier said than done!). There are gentle ways that this can be done (The Sleep Dept. only uses gentle techniques and no Cry It Out methods). It takes patience and consistency, but the good news is that if we follow a plan 100%, the results are almost immediate, with babies falling asleep on their own and sleeping through by night 2!
Swaddling and rolling don’t mix. What is the best way to transition a baby to a sleeping bag once she’s able to roll over?
In my experience, the best way to do this is… COLD TURKEY! It creates less confusion for your baby. I would recommend introducing a small handkerchief sized comforter, so that your baby can keep their hands busy if they need to. Again, most babies get used to having arms out in a night or two.
What about allowing her to sleep in our bed? I know I’ll be tempted when she starts teething!
The MOST important thing to remember when your baby is sick, teething, or going through a sleep regression is to not introduce anything new — especially a bad habit that you had worked so hard to get rid of in the first place! Of course, your baby needs you in times like these, but the best thing is to go to them. They still need to know its nighttime. So do what you have to do — feed them, bring a mattress into their room, hug them. Just be sure to stay in their room. All of these things pass, and if a baby is on a solid routine, it will only be a few days before they are back on track.
We have a routine down, but I’m worried that won’t be the case if we were to take a trip. Is it a mistake to take a vacation with a young baby? And do you have tips to calm new mom travel nerves?
We get it. A long flight, lots of waiting around, unfamiliar surroundings — these can all affect your Bub BUT if your little one is in a great routine at home, then they should be able to easily adjust wherever they are in the world. My best tips for travelling with a little one:
- Throw all your rules out when on the plane. It will be much less stressful for both you and Bub if you do what will easily calm your Bub.
- Get your baby onto a routine based on the time zone you are in. Babies adjust to different time zones much quicker than adults!
- Have your baby spend lots of time outside during the day, and start the nighttime wind down approx. 2-3 hours before sleep time.
If you could give one piece of advice for mothers with babies, what would it be?
The absolute best piece of advice I can share with you, that can be done as soon as your baby comes home is to have a solid bed time routine. Establishing a bedtime routine for your Bub is a must. Bub will be more relaxed if they know what’s coming next. A short 20 to 30-minute routine for your baby right before bedtime is ideal and really makes for healthy sleep habits. Be sure to do the routine in your baby’s bedroom (after they are bathed and dressed). Most babies LOVE the bath, but if your baby doesn’t find the bath relaxing, then switch it to the morning. The point of the bath during the bedtime routine is to calm your baby, not get them worked up right before bedtime. Our favorite routine goes a little something like this BATH – PJ’s – FEED/BURP – BOOK – CUDDLE – BLINDS DOWN – BED.