Can I Co-sleep and Sleep Train?

If you’ve stumbled upon this blog because you’re wondering if you and your baby can co-sleep and sleep train, it’s probable that something just isn’t working for you. If something’s not working for your baby’s (or your own) sleep habits, my job as a pediatric sleep specialist is to help you find what works. And if you’re not ready to make some major changes, you’re not going to like what I have to say. The short answer is that no, you can not co-sleep with your baby and sleep train.

co sleep and sleep train

Notice that I didn’t say that room sharing was off-limits. I’ll get to that later, but right now, I want to address bed-sharing and sleep training. Co-sleeping is a personal decision, and I work with families with all types of sleeping arrangements — my job is to address concerns and come up with solutions that work for both parents and babies. I find that those co-sleeping families who contact me are looking for one of two solutions; they either want to transition their child from their bed, or they simply want their little one to sleep better while bed sharing.

Personalized transitions

If you’re looking to transition your child from your bed, I can definitely help your little one make a smooth transition. My approach to moving your little one out of your bed, and into their own, is tailored to your family’s needs. I take a look at your baby’s existing sleep habits, their personality and temperament, and come up with a personalized plan to make your baby’s transition, from your bed to their own, work for the entire family.

Co-sleeping and sleep associations

Those of you who came to this article through an internet search, in hopes of finding a way to better streamline your baby’s sleep habits while bed sharing, are not ready for my assistance — and that’s fine! When you are ready to transition your baby out of your bed, give me a call and I’ll be more than happy to help.

But now you’re probably wondering why I can’t help you now. Let me explain.

The majority of my co-sleeping clients bed share because there is an established breastfeeding relationship. Co-sleeping makes mother’s breast accessible throughout the night, and as a result, the breast becomes a sleep prop or a sleep association. This means that each time your baby wakes at the end of a sleep cycle, they head right to the breast — hungry or not — to soothe themself back to sleep. The longer that association remains, the more difficult it is for your baby to be able to transition between sleep cycles on their own.

Think about it. You, perhaps unknowingly, have sleep strategies you employ when you wake in the night. Maybe you shift positions, re-adjust your pillow or blankets, or maybe you take a quick drink of water. Whatever it is that you do to get yourself comfortable enough to go back to sleep can be likened to your baby’s need to nurse themself back to sleep. And in order to break the association between nursing and sleep, your breast needs to be inaccessible to them.

Room sharing as an alternative

Remember when I said I didn’t rule out room sharing? While not ideal, those parents who strongly desire to stay in close proximity to their baby can set up a crib in their room, or attach a sidecar to their bed (but a sidecar may make it even more difficult to break the breast-sleep association). The most important thing is that you’re happy with your sleeping arrangements.

I will leave you with this — the longer a sleep habit persists, the more difficult it is to change. And the longer your child shares your bed, the more difficult it will be to get them to sleep on their own. But when they do make that transition, they’ll acquire the sleep skills they need to have independent, healthier, sounder sleep, which is especially important during the formative years.

If you’re ready to make a change, or are simply wondering if a sleep consultant is right for you, contact me to set up a complimentary 15-minute phone sleep assessment by clicking HERE.

BONUS: Did you catch my interview today with Jim Masters of CUTV.  If not, take a listen HERE.

Rock-a-Bye Baby: When Rocking Your Baby Is a Bad Idea

Hey new parent! Yes, YOU! I know, I know, you’re deliriously happy and sleep deprived — welcome to the parent club! Are you still swaying, side to side, even after putting your baby down? Rocking your baby is an incredibly natural thing to do, and many tired moms often continue to rock while standing, even without a baby in their arms! If you’re rocking your baby to get her to sleep, terrified of her eyes snapping open once her little body hits the crib or bassinet, you could be doing yourself a disservice.

rocking-your-baby

Much like taking baby on drives to get him to sleep, or long walks in the stroller, you’re using motion to help calm your baby to sleep…and you’re not alone.

What happens when the movement stops? Does your baby wake almost immediately, or does she sleep for a short time and then wake up crying, forcing you to begin the entire process again from the start. You’re not going to like what I have to say, but you need to hear it — rocking your baby to sleep is not doing him or her any favors. In fact, you’re providing your baby with a sleep prop that a.) doesn’t work long term, b.) doesn’t teach your baby necessary sleep skills, and c.) is exhausting to maintain.

Yes, I know, it seems to work for your little one, and some sleep is surely better than none, you think. And yes, research says that rocking your baby is excellent for stimulating your baby’s developing brain. However, you really want to keep the rocking to awake hours with your little one. While you want to stimulate your baby’s brain during waking hours, you want your baby’s brain to wind down to rest (and grow) while sleeping. Rocking your baby is counterintuitive, as she will show outward signs of calm and relaxation, but her brain is actually too stimulated to allow her to fall into that deep, much needed, REM sleep.

Again, I am not advocating against rocking your baby to calm, cuddle or bond with him, I’m saying that you should break the habit of rocking him to sleep. If you find that you’re having to rock your baby to sleep before each nap and at bedtime, your baby has developed a habit that you’re going to want to change. You want your baby to learn how to fall asleep independently.

What do I mean by “fall asleep independently”? When you put your baby in her crib awake, after having shown sleep signs, you are allowing her to learn how to fall asleep on her own. The more your baby practices falling asleep independently, the better her sleep will be, and the more rested your baby and you will be.

If you’re having trouble breaking your rocking habit, don’t fret. I offer a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation to assess your family’s needs.

Get Baby to Sleep Longer

“My baby is one year old and he doesn’t sleep! He takes a short nap in the morning and then plays the rest of the day. He doesn’t go to sleep until really late and then is up extremely early. My husband and I are struggling to function without sleep — is there something wrong with our baby?”

Want to get baby to sleep longer? Take a look at your baby's current sleep habits and use some of these tips to get her back on track.

The plea above is a pretty typical one, one that I hear from parents who contact me every week. No matter the age of their baby, she just isn’t sleeping; parents want to get baby to sleep longer, and their baby needs to sleep longer. When I look at the searches that bring parents to my website, the search terms are usually regarding questions about how much sleep their little one should be getting for her age, or how to increase the length of her naps, even questions about consolidating nighttime sleep. The simple answer is that all three of those questions are the answer — if you want to get baby to sleep longer, you need to focus on all areas of her sleep.

While the case above is an extreme one, I do often work with parents of babies who are only sleeping 6-8 hours a day, which is definitely not enough for a growing baby, so let’s take a look at how your baby is falling asleep.

If I had to guess, you’re probably using at least one sleep prop — rocking, feeding to sleep — to get your little one to fall asleep. You’re not going to believe me, but the best way to get your baby to sleep is to put her into her crib or bassinet while she’s still awake. Yes, awake! When you remove the sleep props and place your tired baby in her crib while she’s still awake, you’re allowing your baby to learn how to fall asleep on her own, without outside assistance.

Now, you’re not going to plop your baby into her crib and close the door, so don’t worry. What you do want to do is to a.) learn how to spot your baby’s sleep signs, both throughout the day and in the evening, and b.) establish a nap and bedtime routine and be consistent with it (you must be consistent). When you establish a sleep routine, your baby knows that at the end of the routine, it’s time to sleep — this way there are no surprises.

Sleep begets sleep, so once you learn to spot sleep signs, create a routine and tackle daytime naps, you’ll likely find that your baby sleeps better at night, and vice versa.

If you find yourself struggling to establish a sleep routine, or have tried the above suggestions and are still unable to get baby to sleep longer, I offer a 15-minute phone consultation, at no charge, to talk about how we can get your little one some much needed rest.

 

Have a newborn? Take a look at these tips for helping your newborn baby sleep longer.

 

Identifying Baby Sleep Signs

If you’re letting your baby dictate her own schedule, it can often be difficult to spot her sleep signals, which can lead to an overtired baby (and a struggle to get her down). Don’t wait for your baby to yawn to recognize fatigue, there are many other baby sleep signs that indicate that it’s time to put your little one to bed.

Yawns and face rubbing aren't the only baby sleep signs. Read on to learn how to spot signs your little one is ready for a nap.

It can be tricky to get into a sleep routine during your baby’s first few months, especially as her body is adjusting to their natural circadian rhythm. You’re waiting for adorable baby yawns, and even some eye rubbing, but they rarely appear – what’s going on?

Less Obvious Baby Sleep Signs

Infants can exhibit less obvious sleep signs, which are often difficult for new parents to decipher. If you notice your little one scrunching her nose, pulling her ears or rubbing anywhere on her face, it’s a good sign that she’s ready for a nap.

Irritability

Irritability is another common sign of fatigue in babies. One minute she’s cooing at you, the next she’s red-faced and crying. As you begin your checklist (hungry, wet, etc.) she suddenly calms down and is all smiles again – what’s going on? Your baby has already become a master at hiding her fatigue, and her “mood swings” are the result of trying to fend off sleep.

Hyperactivity

If you’ve ever experienced the wrath of an overtired baby, you know that it can be unbelievably difficult to rein her in after she’s past the point of no return. Overtired babies are active babies. Squirming in your arms, arching her back, crawling around everywhere; babies in overdrive are tired babies. Some babies will push through fatigue, or hide it from you completely, by becoming more active to overcome feelings of tiredness. Your baby may even seem a bit hyperactive when she’s overtired.

Monitor Awake Time

If you’ve missed the signs, or have a calm little one who exhibits absolutely no baby sleep signs, you’ll want to gauge naps and bedtime by paying attention to your baby’s awake time.

Infants can handle approximately an hour-and-a-half of awake time before needing a nap. If your baby wakes for the day at 6am, then she will be ready for a nap at 7:30am. Once she wakes up, you’ll want to take a look at the clock and note her next nap time, an hour-and-a-half from then; continue this throughout the day. Have an older baby? I’ve included a simple awake time chart, by age, in this blog with baby sleep tips.

If you’re still having difficulty determining a healthy sleep schedule for your baby, I’m here to help. I offer a 15-minute sleep assessment, at no charge, for parents struggling to help their baby get restful sleep.

When Your Baby Won’t Sleep

I receive questions from tired and frazzled parents every week. Sometimes the answers are a simple solution that fatigue caused weary parents to overlook, and other times the issue is a little more involved, taking a bit of investigative work to uncover. This is often the case when your baby won’t sleep, as in your baby catnaps day and night, but never gets a solid block of good sleep. I’m here to help.

You feel that you've tried everything, but your baby won't sleep. Let's take a look at what might be interrupting your baby's sleep.

As I said, most questions I receive revolve around the amount of sleep their baby is getting (how much should she be sleeping?), how to lengthen the duration of naps, or how to stretch nighttime blocks of sleep. I’ll let you in on a little secret — all of those items are typically the cause when your baby won’t sleep.

To master a skill, one often needs a solid foundation as a starting point. When your baby isn’t getting enough sleep for his age, not napping long enough during the day, and not getting solid stretches of sleep through the night, this disrupts the chances of your baby establishing a healthy sleep routine. As I tell all of my clients, sleep begets sleep.

Let’s take a look at how your baby sleeps when she is sleeping. Is she getting the proper cumulative amount of daily sleep for her age? If you’re unsure how much sleep your baby should be getting at her age, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests babies between 4 months and one year of age get around 14 hours of sleep per day, from there on until preschool age, your child should be getting around 12 hours of sleep per day.

How Is Your Baby Falling Asleep?

How are you putting your little one down to sleep? Are you nursing him to sleep and transferring him to the crib? Are you rocking him to sleep and then transferring? I throw out these ideas because the majority of parents soothe their infants to sleep and then put them in their crib. By soothing your baby to sleep, you’re a.) not allowing him to learn to fall asleep on his own, b.) unknowingly teaching your baby to sleep only when soothed by yourself, and c.) creating a scenario in which he may wake once the rocking or soothing stops (when you go to transfer him) or he may wake and be startled to no longer be in his parent’s arms. Ideally, you want to put your baby in his crib when he’s drowsy, but not completely asleep.

Establish a Routine

I often find that there is a lack of routine or lack of consistency in routine when I encounter a family with sleep concerns. In order for your little one acquire healthy sleep habits, you have to practice over and over and give it at least two weeks to become firmly ingrained. Take a look at these 7 baby sleep tips for help in establishing a healthy sleep environment and routine.

Are YOU the cause?

I understand completely — you’re tired, you’re frazzled, you’re new to parenting and you just want everyone to sleep. Don’t get upset with me, but you may be the cause. I don’t think you’re purposely trying to sabotage your baby’s sleep, but you’re inadvertently creating a stumbling block. Take a look at these 5 ways parents sabotage their baby’s sleep and see if you’re guilty of any.

Call For Backup

If you’ve gone down the checklist, tried establishing a routine (and gave it a couple of consistent weeks) and your baby won’t sleep, it may be time to call for backup. Sometimes you just need an outside [well-rested] eye to take a look at your baby’s sleep practices to determine the culprit. I offer a complimentary 15-minute sleep assessment to struggling families, so now might be the best time to call. I look forward to speaking with you!

When Your Baby Is Afraid To Sleep In His Crib Or Room

Whether you’re transitioning your baby from your room, or your baby develops a sudden aversion to his room, it can be upsetting to both you and your child. As a parent, you want your child to feel safe, secure and nurtured, so it can be alarming when, suddenly, your baby is afraid to sleep in his crib or room.

Whether you're transitioning your baby from your room, or suddenly your baby is afraid to sleep in his crib, it can be upsetting to both you and your child, but there are ways to overcome the aversion.

You know how difficult it can be to break a habit, whether it be nail biting or driving to a new job (how many of you have accidentally found your car heading towards an old workplace?). Transitioning your baby to his crib or to her nursery is very similar to breaking a habit or routine. It takes time, patience and understanding for your little one to learn their new sleeping environment (or adapt after developing an aversion).

If you and your baby are just beginning sleep training, be assured that her protests are only temporary. If you’ve been co-sleeping or tending to your little one in a bassinet at your side, the sudden relocation to another sleeping environment is often met with tears; I’ve even had parents tell me that their babies start to cry the minute they walk into the bedroom!

If your baby begins crying when you walk into the nursery, you can pride yourself in having an incredibly bright little one! The protestations will typically be short term, but your little one has already grasped the concept that her crib, his nursery, is where the bedtime routine takes place and it is almost bedtime. If you’re met with objection, tears or cries, it’s often because your little one knows that it’s bedtime, but doesn’t yet know how to sleep on her own or has not yet adjusted to the new environment.

If your baby is afraid to sleep in his crib or room, understand that the adjustment will take time and practice. Be patient with your baby and talk her through the process in calm and soothing tones, reassuring her that all will be okay. It often helps to discuss what is going to happen with older babies or toddlers: “We’re going to take a bath, then you’re going to have some milk. We’ll read a book together and then it’s time to sleep.” Discussing the bedtime routine, before it happens, with your little one can often allay fears.

Remind yourself that any protestations from your baby are only temporary, as it typically takes just a short time for little ones to grow beyond their fear and learn how to put themselves to sleep.

Though you may not believe it now, your little one will have her routine so ingrained that, once she’s able to walk, she may head into her room at the first signs of sleepiness! Remember to be patient, that practice makes perfect and that I’m just a phone call away if you need assistance.

 

Baby Sleep Products That Don’t Work

Parents with little ones struggling with sleep issues are often prey to companies willing to exploit people to make a dollar. If you take a look at the sheer number baby sleep products being marketed, your head will spin with the countless choices available. These products offer the promise of soothing your little one into a peaceful slumber, but are they really worth the expense?

The number of baby sleep products being marketed today can be enticing, but don't fall prey to placebos and sleep aids.

 

Yes and no. Take a look at the billion dollar diet industry, rife with products that promise quick fixes and weight loss…with absolutely no changes to your routine. We know successful weight loss requires a change in lifestyle, and sleep is no different. Enacting healthy sleep habits for your baby requires a plan and a change to your old bedtime routine; you’re teaching your child healthy habits instead of using baby sleep products that function as aids or placebos.

Melatonin

Would you take a supplement unregulated by the FDA? If the answer is no, then why on earth would you give it to your child? Does Melatonin work? Yes, it can, but it can be harmful as well, not to mention the fact that administering melatonin does nothing to correct the underlying issues causes sleep disruption. I’m adamantly opposed to administering melatonin to children, and you can read more of my thoughts on this topic in my blog post, Melatonin and Children.

Herbal Syrups

There are a plethora of herbal syrups available on the market, each promising to help your baby sleep. Ever hear of a Snake Oil Salesman? You’ll be wanting your money back after you purchase one of these concoctions.

Lotions, Oils, Balms and Sprays

So many to choose from, but which do you choose? These products can definitely calm and soothe your little one, and are great for promoting bonding and loving touch and massage. But, these lotions, oils and sprays can give you a false sense of security when your baby stops crying, calms and goes to sleep. It’s a miracle! Or is it?

Guess what? You’ve still not targeted the root of what’s causing sleep issues with your little one, and taught her how to sleep on her own. More than likely, she’ll be up in a couple of hours, and then a couple of hours after that, and so on and so forth.

Lullaby Plush Toys

Your aim is to teach your little one how to go to sleep by himself, so why, oh why, would you put him in the crib with a toy that can stimulate him? Blinking lights (no matter how “soft”), talking and singing stuffed toys serve only to create a stimulating, play-like environment for your little one. Keep the crib austere and simple, and your little one will know that when they hit the crib it’s time to get down to business, the sleep business that is.

A Book Promising to Put Your Child to Sleep

If you’re a parent, with a young child, who watches the news or is on social media, you can’t have missed the recent news stories touting a new book, developed by a scientist, that promises to make any child sleep. Look, I get it. Many parents are desperate to help their child sleep more/better/quickly. You gave up on the myriad of sleep help books on the market, but are thinking that this may be the easier route to go. Don’t do it. Well, you can get the book to read as a nice bedtime story, but don’t put all of your sleeping eggs in the miracle sleep book basket. Plain and simple, this book is a sleep prop, a band-aid that doesn’t get to the root of the sleep issues your child is having.

If you’re at your wits-end, and find yourself considering one of the products mentioned here, call me instead. I offer a complimentary phone consultation, and can work with you to ditch the props and placebos, working towards healthy sleep routines for your baby.

Swaddles and Baby Sleep

Swaddles. Swaddling has been around since ancient times (more specifically, the Paleolithic era), so it makes sense that questions surrounding swaddling are ones I receive frequently. Is a swaddle a sleep prop? How do you feel about swaddles? Simply put, I love swaddles. I think they are great for newborns and can help calm your baby, which is conducive to sleep.

I'm asked all of the time about my stance on swaddles. Swaddling is great for newborns, but weaning an older baby from the swaddle can be difficult.

Physiologically, swaddling helps combat your baby’s Moro or startle reflex by keeping flailing arms and legs secured. With her arms and legs secured, your baby is less likely to wake herself from a sleep by startling.

If you’re worried about your baby overheating, I suggest just keeping an eye on your little one. If your baby is becoming sweaty, either loosen your swaddle or switch to a lighter blanket for swaddling – cotton muslin is a light, breathable fabric that is great for swaddling.

While I’m all for swaddling newborns, I must point out that swaddles can become sleep props (for both you and your baby). Your baby gets used to being wrapped and associates it with sleep, so when she kicks out of her swaddle, or loosens the wrap, she’ll likely wake and need you to come re-wrap her.

As your baby grows, her relationship with the swaddle becomes more complex – she thinks she needs to be swaddled to sleep, but hates having her arms and legs trapped at the same time (contradictory, I know – wait until she reaches toddlerhood!). As your baby begins to experiment with her movement, it will become increasingly difficult to keep her swaddled.

I suggest transitioning away from a swaddle by the third month. To begin transitioning, start by swaddling from the waist down, leaving the arms free. Try a nap without a swaddle. Bedtime is often the easiest time to start transitioning from the swaddle because your little one is typically the most tired at this time of day. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, try going swaddle free at bedtime.

I know of a mom who was still swaddling her eight-month-old, sewing together four receiving blankets so that they would have a large enough blanket to swaddle their baby. Not only is it unsafe to swaddle a baby who is rolling on her own, but using a swaddle at this age is definitely a sleep prop. If you’re in this situation, you really want to lose the swaddle by going “cold turkey.”

I won’t sugarcoat it – it will be difficult for you to wean your baby from the swaddle when you’ve been using it for so long. The swaddle is now a sleep prop for your baby, and he is going to protest when you put him to bed without being wrapped tightly. But, both you and your baby will be better off once you’ve removed the swaddle for sleep.

If you absolutely can’t lose the swaddle overnight, I suggest using a transition object – the Zipadeezip. The Zipadeezip can help your little one transition from being tightly wrapped by being a safe, enclosed sleep garment. The Zipadeezip resembles a swaddle, but is quite a bit looser, allowing arm and leg movement (almost like a body sleeping bag, but not quite a sleep sack). I recommend using this if you want to ease your baby from the swaddle more slowly.

In a nutshell, I’m all for swaddling up to three months of age, after that I suggest removing the swaddle (for both safety and sleep association purposes). If you’ve tried weaning your little one from her swaddle but are still having difficulty, please give me a call and we can work out a strategy together.

Baby Waking Too Early?

You’ve finally gotten into a groove, the whole house is sleeping great at night. Getting eight glorious hours of sleep has allowed to stay up past 9pm with your partner, enjoying some kid-free time. Just as you’re beginning to get really comfortable with this routine, you hear a cry. It’s 5:30am. As the days go on, your little one begins waking earlier and earlier, and you find yourself setting the timer on the coffee maker for 4:30am. Your baby is waking too early.

Morning wake time is getting earlier by the day and your baby is waking too early. These 5 tips will help you turn your early riser into a great sleeper.

If you’ve just begun The Sleep Sense Program, you’re used to your baby waking too early; early waking is pretty normal in the first couple of weeks, as your little one learns how to consolidate sleep. Don’t worry, the early mornings will become later as your little one becomes a master at sleeping.

If you’ve been working on transitioning your little one from being an early riser – with no success – give these 5 tips a try:

1. Make sure the room is dark enough.

I’ve stressed the importance of keeping the nursery dark for naps and bedtime, but you also want to make sure that the room is dark enough to facilitate sleep. You may need to adjust your window coverings with the changing seasons, as summer brings early daylight – a change in the lighting in the room, no matter how slight, may be enough to stimulate a wake up. My advice is too ensure that the room is as dark at 5:00am as it is at 3:00am.

2. Implement white noise.

Environmental noise is one of the top culprits of sleep disruption. Remember those early sunlight hours I was just referencing? Well, the birds will be up with the sun and they can get pretty noisy (so can the garbage truck that rolls by at 5:30am).

While I recommend investing in a white noise machine, you can easily use a fan to help block out any errant noises.

3. Remain steadfast with your minimum wake time.

Pick a minimum wake up time (for me it’s 7:00am) and stick to it. It’s amazing how the time can creep up on you when you relax your minimum, allowing for ten early minutes. Before you know it, those ten minutes turn into twenty minutes, and then an entire half hour earlier. Pick your minimum and stick with it.

4. Take a look at your bedtime.

Many parents are taken aback when I tell them to move their child’s bedtime earlier. The fear is that moving bedtime earlier will create an earlier wake time. The reality is that their child is very likely waking early due to overtiredness. Try moving your baby’s bedtime just 30 minutes earlier and see if it makes a difference in his morning wake time.

Much like sleep training, you need to give your baby time to adjust to changes in her sleep schedule. If you put her to bed early one night, and don’t see any change in her wake time, don’t give up! Allow two weeks before trying something different.

5. Be aware of sleep associations.

Does your baby get fed as soon as he wakes up? If your baby loves to nurse, and nursing has played a large role in his sleep associations, he could be waking early because he’s looking forward to nursing.

Just like bedtime, it may help to put a little distance between wake time and first feed (or whatever your baby is anticipating first thing in the morning). Change a diaper, sing a little song or dance and then transition to nursing/feeding. Having a short break between waking and feeding can help break the association.

Hang in there and remember that you’re doing a great job! If you need more suggestions or a customized plan for you and your little one, please give me a call.

Is My Baby Sleeping Too Much?

I know, I know, you never thought you’d be asking this question, especially after all of the sleepless nights you’ve endured. But now you’re noticing some changes in your little one’s sleep patterns, which is leading to you to wonder if, perhaps, your baby is sleeping too much.

Is my baby sleeping too much? The simple answer is that there is no limit on daytime sleep for babies, but there are signs to look for.

The simple answer is that there is no limit on daytime sleep for babies. Every baby has different sleep needs; some sleep for a solid three hours, others do well with a quick one-hour nap to recharge. If your baby is responding well with the length of daytime naps he takes (and not exhibiting signs of overtiredness) then the question of your baby sleeping too much shouldn’t be an issue; there should be no need to tweak his schedule.

On the flip side, if your little one is struggling with bedtime, it may be an indicator that she’s getting too much sleep during the day. Take a look at the last nap of your baby’s day. Has her last nap lengthened, pushing closer to bedtime? If so, you may want to begin gently waking her from that nap.

The best way to gently wake your little one is by creating noise outside his door; open the nursery door, make some noise in the hallway, turn on the light. While I normally wouldn’t advocate for waking a sleeping baby, if the last nap of his day is interfering with his bedtime, you may gently wake him (but be prepared – he may be grouchy for the next 10-30 minutes!).

I’ve not encountered too many babies who “slept too much,” but every so often I come across a baby who sleeps more than the recommended hours for her age. If you’re concerned your baby is sleeping too much, consult your pediatrician. In very rare cases, an underlying health issue is the culprit (ie. low iron). For the vast majority of babies, there is no such thing as too much sleep.

Always remember that sleep begets sleep. If your baby is napping well throughout the day, she is setting herself up for a restful night of healthy sleep. Many well meaning friends and family members may instruct you to pull daytime naps or keep her up during the day to make her tired for bedtime — please do not do this.

Keeping your baby up during the day, in an effort to ensure bedtime sleep, will only result in an overtired little one. Once your baby hits the point of overtiredness, it can be extremely difficult to get him calm enough to get himself to sleep. I’m sure you’ve experienced being so tired you couldn’t sleep; this is exactly what your baby is experiencing when he is overtired.

Let your baby nap throughout the day and try not to wake her. If you are concerned that your baby is sleeping too much, consult your pediatrician to rule out any underlying health issues.

If you’re having difficulty getting your baby to nap well throughout the day, I’m more than happy to work with you to offer suggestions.