By Maggie Moore
Wow! Over THREE HUNDRED of you joined me during my recent Q&A, asking me loads of great questions about your little one’s sleep! It was such a pleasure, and I tried to answer as many as I could, but there were a few I simply wasn’t able to respond to.
For review, here are the THREE biggest takeaways from our time together:
Independent sleep is key: The majority of sleep challenges I see on a daily basis can be solved by teaching your little one how to sleep independently. Now, this doesn’t always mean they have to Cry it Out, or that they need to forego night feedings. What it does mean is that by the end of sleep training, you are able to lay your child down wide awake and walk out of their room knowing they will fall asleep on their own.
A few facts behind the logic – No one, including adults, sleeps through the night. As adults, our sleep cycles are 60 to 90 minutes. At the top of a cycle, we come-to, “check” our sleep surroundings, then roll over because the majority of the time the surroundings are the same; same room, same bed, etc.
This isn’t always the case for a little one. Their sleep cycles are 30 to 45 minutes. If we typically rock, walk, bounce and nurse them to sleep, they become accustomed to falling asleep solely by these methods. After using one or more of these methods, we lay them in their crib or bassinet to sleep, then after 30 to 45 minutes they come-to and then stay awake because they are depending on us to help them connect their sleep cycles by once again rocking, walking, bouncing and/or nursing them. This cycle becomes the only way they know how to go back to sleep.
If we start out by teaching them how to put themselves to sleep in the first place, they will no longer be dependent upon us to connect those cycles.
Schedule is KING: Any child can be taught to put themselves to sleep, but if they are not on a solid schedule there may still be night waking, which leads to more tears and more frustration! Children’s schedules are often inconvenient, but following a regular schedule will simplify your life and make sleep time SO. MUCH. BETTER.
As a reminder, here is the number of naps your little one should be taking per day:
- Younger than 2-months = 5+ naps
- 2 to 3-months = 5 naps
- 4-months = 4 naps
- 5 to 7-months = 3 naps
- 8 to 15-months = 2 naps
- 15-months and beyond = 1 nap
To see all of my recommended schedules, please visit my site. Use code SLEEPINGBABY to receive $10 off your purchase.
Environment matters: Where your little one sleeps matters. Remember to always practice the ABC’s of safe sleep – Alone, on their Back, in their Crib. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children room-share with their parents for at least the first six months of life, ideally through the first year of life.
It is very important to make sure the room your little one sleeps in is conducive to sleep. Here are the keys for converting the room into the perfect place for sleep:
- Dark –Making your child's room as dark as possible helps your child produce melatonin. The room should be an 8 to 10 on a scale of bright and sunny (1) to pitch black (10). Black out curtains are a simple and inexpensive way to achieve this.
- White Noise -White noise is essential and should be mild, boring and continuous. It should be placed at least 6.5 feet from the crib or bed and the volume level should be about the same as a running shower while standing in the bathroom.
- Cool -Our body’s internal temperature naturally lowers while we sleep. A cooler room will help your child’s body get to a lower temperature faster, and will encourage deeper sleep. The ideal room temperature for sleep is between 68 to 72 degrees.
Pro Tip: Size up in your child's nighttime diaper. This will help prevent unnecessary diaper changes in the middle of the night once they are sleeping through the night. If your child is still feeding at night, not having to change a diaper will be one less disruption.
I will be back on Sleeping Baby’s Instagram in January to answer more of your sleep questions! Be sure to use the code MOORESLEEP to save $8 off your purchase on Sleepingbaby.com.
Maggie Moore is the Founder and Head Sleeper at Moore Sleep. She is a certified pediatric sleep consultant through the Family Sleep Institute, which means her sole focus and objective is getting your baby on a healthy sleep schedule so the whole family can get the sleep they need.
Like many parents, Maggie and her husband struggled with getting their son on a healthy sleep schedule and he was unable to fall asleep independently. As a result, her family was losing precious sleep every night.
Maggie became a firm believer when, shortly after hiring a certified pediatric sleep consultant, her son began sleeping independently at bed and nap times. It was a turning point that resulted in not only restful nights, but waking up fully rested with the energy to face the day. Maggie knew right away she wanted to become a certified consultant herself so she could help other families struggling to get the sleep they need.
Maggie and her family reside in Southern Indiana (near Louisville, KY). She received her bachelors in Journalism and a second concentration in Communications & Culture from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Follow Maggie on Facebookand Instagram.