I am excited to introduce Brittney Stefanie, Founder of Sleeper Teachers. She is an educator and sleep consultant who helps families all across the nation. We were so lucky to have her takeover @dreamlandbabyco Instagram stories earlier this week and answer all your burning baby sleep questions.
Your Sleep Questions, Answered by a Certified Sleep Consultant
We had an overwhelming interest on Instagram so I wanted to transcribe the Q&A here as well. All of the below questions came from Dreamland Baby instagram followers. We hope Brittney's expert answers can help you and your baby on your sleep journey!
Q: 6 1/2 month baby can fall asleep on own for naps but won't for bedtime
A: "So this question about independent sleep during the day but having a harder time at night. The one thing I would wonder is what is your baby's wake window before bed? So ideally at 6 1/2 months would be about 3 hours. So making sure they are tired. So we just want to make sure their tired enough. In sleep consulting we call this their "sleep pressure." So we want to make sure the baby has enough need or desire for sleep. So really check that window again, probably three hours."
Key Takeaway: Check the wake window before bed to make sure babe has built up enough "sleep pressure" before bed!
Key Takeaway: Make sure there is enough NEED for sleep!
Q: What is the best way to handle the 4th month sleep regression?
A: "So those of you that are in the thick of the 4 month regression. It can happen anywhere between 14 week and 18 weeks. First of all, my heart is with you. We know the that the struggle is super real."
Key Takeaway: What "sleep props" does your little one need to fall asleep?
Q: Four month sleep regression is killing me. Help!!!
A: "The first thing we want to look at what sleep props or outside factors does your little one need to fall asleep? Pacifier movement, swing, breast, bottle, snuggles, being held? What do they need? So until we are able to remove those props, now the baby's sleep has changed at the 4 month regression, drowsy is the first stage of sleep. So as long as we have those props we are going to be stuck in this yucky sleep pattern. We've gotta get those props outta there."
Key Takeaway: We've gotta teach babe how to sleep with the props!
Q: What is the best way to handle the 4th month sleep regression?
A: "So you can look on Pinterest, look on Google, you find any program, there are a ton of options out there. A lot of people think teaching sleep means 'cry it out'. Your baby will probably cry but find something that feels like a good fit for you and then lets start to remove the sleep aid."
Text: Look on google of Pinterest to find a sleep teaching program that feels like a good fit!
Q: How do we start getting a daytime schedule? (Babe is 3 months old)
A: "Once you pick a program that fits and your able to be consistent. The next piece is figuring out and making sure you are on a good schedule because we want baby to have enough sleep pressure but not to be over tired. And this is fragile."
Key Takeaway: So we need to make sure the daytime "schedule" is spot on! This can be a fragile window of wake time
A: "From newborn to 8 months, I really love following wake windows rather than a set schedule! And I am going to post a wake window cheatsheet in the next slide"
Key Takeaway: These are averages! We work with families all the time to find the "sweet spot" for your little!
Q: When do you drop from 2 to one nap? My baby boy is 12.5 months.
A: "If you look on the wake window slide, typically its about 13-14-15 months so you are probably close. One sign of readiness is the protest before either of the existing naps gets long."
Key Takeaway: Between 13-16 months, or so! /if protest before either of the editing naps is long, you are close!
Q: When do you drop to only 2 naps a day?
A: "Another schedule question here. 3 to 2 naps, so that transition. Typically 7, 8 months, depending how independent your sleeper is."
Key Takeaway: 3 to 2 naps anywhere between 6 and 8 months!
Q: When is a good age to introduce a weighted sleep sack?
A: "The wearable weighted blanket from Dreamland Baby starts as early as 8 pounds. We want it to be less than 10% of weight of the baby. They have a swaddle option."
Key Takeaway: Anytime after 8 lbs! There is a swaddled option for itty bitties!
Q: How to wean off of feeding to sleep at night?
A: "Alright mama, I get this question all the time as a certified consultant. And my biggest piece of advice if you want them to drop the feeds in the middle of the night you want to make sure you are not allowing them to feed to sleep at bedtime because then they will become dependent on them."
Key Takeaway: Be mindful of how they are falling asleep at bedtime!
Q: How to break the habit of bed sharing?
A: “First find a program that is a good fit and second be super, super consistent. I would love to offer anyone a free sleep evaluation call. In this call we will talk about your sleep goals, what your primary struggle is now and how we can get you from your struggle to your goal as soon as possible.”
Key Takeaway: 1- find a teaching program that feels good 2- be consistent as you implement
Q: My 2 month old is still sleeping around 18-20 hours a day … is this normal or too much
A: “At two months our priority is to make sure feeds are happening. So as long as baby’s growth is going well and you are able to fit in feeds every 3 hours during the day. Then go ahead and let them sleep. There is obviously a range of average at this age.
Key Takeaway: As long as growth is on track and daytime feeds every 3 hours, let them sleep!
Q: What’s your best advice for first time parents for creating healthy sleep habits right away.
A: “My biggest piece of advice is to be really, really aware of how baby is falling asleep. This is number one. Number two being really mindful of wake windows and over tiredness. Third, just know you can be proactive in teaching sleep.
Teaching the skill of sleep can start as soon as you get home from the hospital. I actually started this program with my own son when he was 8 weeks old. He was sleeping 12 hours by 12 weeks old.”
Key Takeaway: Teaching the skill of sleeping can start ASAP!
Q: Will the dreamland help a baby that gets up every 3 hours to eat or will he still wake up to eat?
A: “It can absolutely help! There are two parts to making sure your kiddo is successfully sleeping. The first is making sure they are comfortable. Which is where the wearable weighted blanket can really come into play. The second is making sure they have the skill.
Key Takeaway: 2 bases to cover: 1-comfort (totally achieved by dreamland baby, 2- skill (totally achieved by Brittney)
Q: Two month old won’t nap unless he’s on someone, what can I do to help that?
A: “He’s probably most comfortable that way. Some things you can do to help is exposure to other sleep situations. Consider the wearable weighted blanket. That is really going to help make sure that even weight distribution can help simulate the feel of your touch on him. That can really help.”
Key Takeaway: Make sure your little finds comfort in other sleep places to get practice.
Key Takeaway: A wearable weighted blanket can really help! And, then be sure to start teaching the skill!
Q: How do I get rid of my three year old’s pacifier? When we move him into his own bed?
A: One thing you can do is package them all up and send them away. You could package them up and leave them for Santa.
Key Takeaway: Package them up and send them away! Out of sight, out of mind.
Q: Max wake time for an 18 month old. 1 nap. Taking a long time to fall asleep at 5 hour wake time. Regression?
A: “Wake time looks good. We aim for 4.5 -5 hours at this age. Any regression is most likely related to a new skill. New words, etc.”
Key Takeaway: Regression at 18 months is likely related to a new skill
Q: Good wake window for 2 ½ year old before bedtime? Daughter is taking a long time to fall asleep.
A: “We still look for that 5-ish hour wake window. This is where independence really comes into play. So try offering a lot of choices for her.”
Key Takeaway: Still about 5 hour window. Try offering choices during bedtime to give her independence and empowerment.
Q: Tips for encouraging self-soothing to sleep for a breastfeeding 3 month old?
A: “Biggest tip at this age is Practice, practice, practice. So the great news, at 3 months there are 4-6 naps happening during the day plus bedtime and middle of the night wake-ups. There is a ton of time to start teaching this skill. So really take advantage of the opportunity to be doing this 6-9 times in a 24 hour period. Find something you can be consistent with. If 3 minutes of protest before you start to soothe feels good, then do it. If you can handle 10 minutes, then great.”
Key Takeaway: Practice, practice, practice! At this age there are lots of chances to try, so take advantage of that!
Key Takeaway: Find something (method, program, coach) that feels good and that you can stay consistent with!
Q: 2 month old is having 3-4 hour awake times and awake every 2-3 hours at night
A: “At 2 months we really aim of about an hour of a wake window. So I am wondering if daytime sleep is a little bit compromised and because of that then there are extra night wake-ups. So really check that wake window during the day.”
Key Takeaway: At 8 weeks, 60 minutes is an ideal wake window, so I suspect there’s some over tiredness that is likely contributing to these wakings!
Q: Tips for traveling with young kids! Sharing hotel rooms
A: “First of all, keep the sleep environment as similar to home as you can. Bring the sound machine, bring the wearable weighted blanket, bring trash bags. Black trash bags with painters tape can do the trick to make any room dark. Don’t be afraid to put the pack and play into a larger closet or bathroom to give yourself space from the littles.”
Key Takeaway: Keep the room environment as close to it is at home!
Key Takeaway: We always travel with black trash bags and painters tape. Also, don’t be afraid to put a pack and play in the bathroom to give extra space!
Q: Tips for transitioning out of the swaddle and dockatot into the dreamland sleep sack.
A: “Dock-a-tot isn’t intended for unaccompanied night time sleep the sooner the better. Go ahead and just make the swap out of the swaddle to the Dreamland and then out of the Dock-a-tot to the crib.”
Key Takeaway: We are all about safe sleep. Dock-a-tot isn’t intended for night sleep.
Q: Sporadic 4am wake. Help!
A: “The biggest thing with 4am is most likely a temperature thing.”
Key Takeaway: 4am wake might be a temperature issue! Body temps drop around this time so make sure room is warm enough
Q: How can I transfer baby from rocking to sleep in my arms to crib.
A: We like to teach independence in the crib.
Q: How to transition baby from swaddle to sleep sack?
A: “Once baby has learned how to roll, its best to get their arms out. So if you are transitioning before rolling you can do one arm at a time. If you are transitioning after rolling, cold turkey.”
Key Takeaway: Transition from swaddle to sleep sack. Before rolling: slower transition (1 arm at a time), After rolling: cold turkey