I am so excited to introduce Jess Hudson from Sleep Shop Consulting. Jess is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant who supports families through sleep education. 'We recently had a Q + A session with her from Instagram stories and encourage you to check out everything we covered below. Chances are you have a lot of the same questions with what you're going through right now with your little one so read on to find out her expert advice for everything you need to know about baby sleep.
Everything You Need to Know About Naptime
Naptime can be confusing with a baby! And in that first year, they're changing so often that it seems they've already moved onto a new nap schedule just as you were starting to get the hang of the one you had in place! Phew...our little ones sure know how to keep us on on our toes.
Jess mentioned in her recent article that she wrote for Dreamland Baby that naps are the number one topic she gets asked about. We recommend checking out that post for the naptime checklist she always recommends as well as these answers to some top questions by our customers.
Naptime Sleep Questions:
Q: How long should a nap be for a 3-month-old baby?
A: 1- 1.5 hours is ideal. You want an hour so its restorative sleep, but under 2 hours so you don’t miss feedings.
Q: What age should babies stop napping?
A: Babies should stop napping typically between ages 3 and 4. Once it starts affecting bedtime.
Q: How many naps should my 3-month-old be taking?
A: Ideally 3 naps and a catnap. 4-5 hours of total nap sleep during the day for a 3-month-old baby.
Q: How do I extend a nap in the crib for baby who is five months?
A: Babies under about 5 months, their naps are going to be difficult, they are going to be shorter. If baby is 0-3 months, do what you can to extend it to that hour mark. This could include soothing to sleep or finishing the nap in your arms. You want to always start baby out in the crib, think about it like practice. They are learning how to sleep independently in their crib.
Q: My 11-week old sleeps from 8:30pm- 5:30/6:30. Should I move his naptime to earlier?
A: There is definitely flexibility in bedtimes. I do find that most babies are ready for sleep at 6:30/7:30 but if 8:30 is working for you, your baby and your family there is no reason to adjust.
Everything You Need to Know About Bedtime
It is rare to have a baby that goes to sleep in a snap without any pushback at all. It's not surprising seeing as how they would much prefer to be curled up with you! But independent sleep is healthy and important for everyone. This is why you have to take time to teach them to do so by being consistent in your routine.
And whether it's fussiness going down, waking up early, or something else, a common theme we saw in Jess's answers was to make sure you're putting your baby to bed EARLIER! An overtired baby is a cranky baby. Here Jess answers customer questions about bedtime sleep.
Bedtime Sleep Questions:
Q: What is the ideal bedtime for 5.5 month old baby with two 1- 1.5 hour naps and a catnap?
A: Ideal bedtime depends a bit on morning wake time. Typically between 6:30 and 7:30pm works best.
Q: What is a good bedtime for a 2-month-old?
A: For this age group, ideal bedtime depends on naps.. Typically between 6:30 and 7:30pm works best.
Q: My 3-month-old baby gets really agitates the last 90 minutes before bedtime, is this normal?
A: Yes. But earlier bedtime will help.
Q: My almost 3-month-old usually fusses /cries when I put him down drowsy / awake.
A: My number one tip is to put your baby down a little bit earlier. It is easier for them to go to sleep independently if they go down happy and not overly tired.
Q: Why does my baby consistently wake an hour after putting him down at night?
A: This is almost always a sign that baby is going down overly tired. Try moving bedtime up earlier!
Q: What is the ideal bedtime by age? My son is 4 months and goes to bed at 8 pm with three 1 hours nap and catnap.
A: You're doing great! 4 hours a day of sleep is ideal, so an earlier bedtime could help a bit!
Q: Is a bedtime of 6-7 to early for a 3.5-month-old?
A: Not at all.
Q: I can barely get my baby to make it through bedtime feed awake. Should I move bedtime earlier?
A: Yes, you to move bedtime earlier for two reasons: first, you want baby to stay awake for their feeding so they are taking in a full feeding, second you don’t want baby to rely on nursing or a bottle to fall asleep.
Q: How do I move baby bedtime up?
A: My best tip for any type of change with your baby is to give it time. 3-5 days tends to be a magic number. If it doesn’t work the first night, that doesn’t mean it's not working. Baby may need more time to adjust.
Everything You Need to Know About Night Wakings
You love your new baby so much, but it doesn't take long for those frequent night wakings to take it out of you. If you dream about the first time your baby sleeps through the night (so that you can too), join the club! Even when babies give you a taste of those "through the night" stretches it doesn't always stay that way. So what gives? Take a look through Jess' answers to some top questions to see if she has some advice to fit your same situation. We also recommend reading our article, "When do babies sleep through the night without feeding?" It's important to remember that there is a very wide range of what's normal.
Baby Waking in the Middle of the Night Questions:
Q: My 9-month-old baby goes to bed awake but wakes up 3x in the night for comfort nursing. Where do I begin?
A: Do what you can to soothe without nursing if it’s truly just for comfort.
Q: My baby wakes up crying but fairly quickly falls back to sleep. What can I do to stop this?
A: That’s great that baby is falling back asleep quickly! That’s just sharpening that independent sleep skill that’s the ticket to healthy sleep!
Q: My baby is 6 ½ months and waking up for a feed at 1am now. Why is this happening?
A: Try upping daytime feeds. If bottle feeding, be sure the nipple is a level 2!
Q: Will my three-month-old sleep through the night? He is almost there going to bed at 8:30- 4 pm.
A: Yes! He's doing great! Early morning hours require strong independent sleep skills. Be sure baby is going down awake. A Dreamland Baby weighted sack can help too!
Q: How do I get my 4-month-old baby to sleep through the night?
A: 4 months is a tricky age because of the 4-month sleep regression. Consistency is key! Remember:
1. create an ideal sleep environment
2. proper wake windows
3. full feeding
4. putting baby down awake
Q: My 8-month-old keeps waking up in the middle of the night. He has never done this before- Help!
A: There is actually a sleep regression between 8 and 10 months. There are a lot of physical and mental developments at this age. The key is being consistent in the good sleep habits you have already established.
For new physical developments like sitting and standing, let them get a lot of practice during the day. This will wear baby out and help them master that new trick and prevent it from being the reason they aren’t sleeping at night.
Read "Your Baby's 8 -10 month Sleep Regression: Signs and Solutions," for more advice on this topic!
Q: What are tips for extending newborn night sleep (3-month-old)?
A: Full feedings - work hard to keep your baby awake while they are feeding and limit any nap to no more than two hours.
Everything You Need to Know About Baby Waking Early
Ultimately you want your baby to get a good night's sleep and wake up happy. A baby who wakes up too early can really throw off the day (and not to mention they're temperament.) Every hour of sleep is important so let's find out from Jess what can help your baby get their full rest!
Baby waking up too early Questions:
Q: My 7-month-old baby has started waking up 1 hour earlier in the morning for no obvious reason. What can I do to extend her sleep?
A: It could be time to cut the catnap
Q: How can you get babies and toddlers to sleep in later? wake up at 5:50/6am; bed at 7/7:30
A: 1. Make sure the room is very dark and white noise is on, 2. Be sure they are getting the proper amount of day sleep, 3. Be sure they aren't waking from hunger.
Q: My 6-month-old baby wakes up at 5:30am. Should I get up or settle?
A: If baby has had 10 hours of sleep at that point, try a couple of times to help baby back to sleep. It it doesn't take, go ahead and start your day.
Q: My 5-month-old just started waking at 3:30am (8:30pm bedtime) Any advice to improve his sleep?
A: It could be the 4-month sleep regression hitting a bit late. Be sure you're laying baby down awake so he learns independent sleep and can more easily fall back asleep.
Everything You Need to Know about Dreamland Baby
Dreamland Baby was created to help babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Its gentle weight helps increase serotonin and melatonin to induce sleep and help your baby relax. We encourage you to check out the reviews from our happy customers to find out how Dreamland Baby has been a gamechanger for so babies' sleep!
Dreamland Baby Questions:
Q: What age can you start using Dreamland Baby?
A: Dreamland Baby can be used at birth for infants 8 pounds and up. The Dream Weighted Sack and Swaddle, 0-6 mo is such a great tool to use from the start. Be sure to use the detachable swaddle wing. You can use JESSHUDON for 15% off!
Q: My son is almost 4 months old and no longer fits into the small Dreamland sack. Can he go into the Medium?
A: Yes, as long as he weighs 15 pounds or more the Dream Weighted Sack, 6-12 mo is a perfect option!
Everything You Need to Know About Baby Sleep Regressions
We know it's hard to believe, but sleep regressions are actually a good thing. Your baby is developing right on schedule! But they can certainly be tough on the household when everyone is feeling the exhaustion. Jess has some great answers for you about sleep regressions and we also have 3 posts on the topic for you to read, too.
Sleep Regression Questions:
Q: Is there a 2-month sleep regression?
A: Every baby hits regressions and leaps at different times, and there are so many in the first 6 months. The best way through it is sticking to those foundations of sleep and being super consistent!
Q: What is the best way to handle the 4-month sleep regression?
A: "So those of you that are in the thick of the 4-month regression. It can happen anywhere between 14 weeks and 18 weeks. First of all, my heart is with you. We know that the struggle is super real."
Key Takeaway: What "sleep props" does your little one need to fall asleep?
Q: How do you know if baby is entering 4-month sleep regression? Any tips during this time?
A: You will see a sudden shift in sleep- frequent night waking is most common. Tips: go back to the sleep training basics and be consistent. Find the method that works best for your family and stick with it.
Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Training
Jumping into sleep training can be daunting. We know you're ready for more sleep and to help your baby learn to fall asleep on their own, but it can be tough to know how to get started. Some recommended reading from Dreamland Baby is our article, "A Helpful Guide for Sleep Training Your Baby," and we also encourage you to reach out to Jess who is an expert who can really help you in this area (see links to her services below).
General Sleep Training Questions:
Q: When should I start to sleep train my baby?
A: You can start sleep training as soon as baby is born with some pieces like full feedings, proper wake windows and ideal sleep environment. When baby gets a little older you can start to implement sleep methods that will help teach baby independent sleep.
*See the Sleep Shop Consulting Newborn Sleep Guide here.*
Q: Why work with a sleep consultant?
A: By working with a sleep consultant, you have an expert to look at the whole picture. All the foundations of sleep, sleep environment, feeds, wake windows, family needs, family preferences, will be taken into account when coming up with a plan.
Q: What is the most important part of sleep training?
A: Consistency! Finding a plan that matches your baby and family needs best will ensure that you can be consistent. Every baby is so different, individualized plans are super important.
*See Sleep Shop Infant Packages and Services here.*
Q: What to do when "soothing techniques" makes baby cry more?
A: Make sure baby isn't going down overly tired or hungry.
Q: Should the room be dark even for naptime? Will it mess with the circadian rhythm for a 2-month-old?
A: It will not mess with circadian rhythm. Darkness helps with melatonin production during the day, which is when sleep is very light. To help with keeping the circadian rhythm, during wake hours make sure baby is getting sunshine and light during that time. Replicate your night sleep environment during naps.
Check out Jess' nap resource: Nap time Checklist for Successful Baby Naps
Q: Do you recommend turning off the light of the Hatch sounds machine for a 5 month old?
A: Yes! Aways! Use the light after the age of 2 and use it as an "Ok to Wake Up" light. Just never use the blue light.
Q: What wake windows for a 7-month-old baby? Waking up at 4 am every day and up for an hour with 2 feeds at night.
A: Wake windows should be 2.5-3 hours. Be sure baby is learning independent sleep. This will help with those wake windows.
Q: What is the ideal wake time for 22-week-old? He is 1.5 hours and still has three naps and a catnap.
A: You're doing great! The wake window can be anywhere between 1.5 and 2 hours. It's often shorter in the morning.
More about Jess: Jess lives in Southern California with her husband and three children. Jessica loves getting to know families and putting together a plan that fits their needs. Her knowledge reaches far beyond just sleep training and she looks forward to sharing it with others.