A Parent Playbook Resource
Live Q & A with Rosalee Lahaie Hera
Recorded August 18, 2021
Rosalee Lahaie Hera, BArtSc, MBA, PhD(abd)
Certified Sleep Consultant
Recorded August 18, 2021
So I’m Rosalee. And along with Dr. Dina, I am the co-founder of the parent playbook. It is a parent membership for all things parenthood. So we help you feel calm and relaxed on your journey with parenthood. If you have any questions about feeding, sleep behavior and health, we covered all with our superhero superhero team of health experts today, I’m going to be focused on sleep.
And so I’m here to present a free Q and a all about sleep. You can pop your questions into the chat at any point, I’m here for about an hour with you, and I will get to as many questions as I possibly can. So you let me know. Okay. I got my first question. Here we go. So John says,
was just wondering what to expect in terms of sleep regressions. For the next few months, our son is five and a half months old. He sleeps through the night and can self-soothe in his own room with a white noise machine. His naps vary between two and three naps on average, he naps for about an hour and a half for two naps and 45 minutes for three naps.
Awesome, John. Okay. So first and foremost, at five and a half months old, I highly recommend sticking to a three nap schedule for as long as you possibly can, until it’s close to nine months old as possible. Now what we sometimes do as parents and say, wow, they’re sleeping so well for the first two naps. I’m going to let them sleep really long.
And maybe we’ll just have days where they can make it to bedtime on two naps a day. Here’s why we don’t want to do that, even though it can seem counterintuitive. We don’t want to do that because we then accommodate longer and longer week windows, which can make little ones over tired. And we never want little ones to be overtired, certainly by the time bedtime rolls around because that’s when they get a shot of cortisol,
the stress hormone, and it makes them harder to fall asleep and harder to maintain sleep. And even if little ones seem as though, oh, they’re fine. They’re handling the snap transition. Just fine. They’re sleeping. Good long chunks. They seem to, sorry, there’s a fly coming around in here. They seem to handle the longer week windows as well,
even though it seems fine at first, it can actually collect a sleep debt over time, which then ends up usually resulting in chronic early morning waking. So that’s what I see. Mostly when we drop a nap too soon is those kind of pesky five o’clock hour wakings that are very hard to drop once these start happening. So for you, John, I really encourage you to keep the first two naps short enough.
That does mean waking baby up from the first two naps. So we’re always fitting in a third nap at five and a half months old, an hour and a half for each nap in the morning is fine for the first two naps of the day I should say is fine. And about 45, even 30 minutes at the end of the day for that last nap,
for sure. What I recommend for week one does at this age is two hours before now, one, two and a quarter hours before naps two and three and two hours before bedtime. Usually with the final nap ending by no later than 5:00 PM so we can see so we can keep that sleep drive really high before bed. Okay. Now, to get to your question in terms of sleep progression.
So the next biggie that comes along, if you are son is already falling asleep independently. And particularly if he’s already learned to roll from back to tummy, you’re likely already through what we call the four months, the progression, I tend to call it the sleep wake cycle maturation process, which is simply the biological term for this time. And so you probably done with that.
The next big one is somewhere around the eight to 10 month mark. And I call this one a triple whammy because it’s usually due to three main factors. The first one is separation anxiety around eight months old, we get the first peak of separation anxiety. And so little ones, what they, what happened at this time? What happens at this time is that they develop something called object permanence.
So essentially when you leave the room, they now know that you still exist and they want you to come back. They don’t like that you’ve left and that you haven’t stayed. So what you can do about this is actually play lots of peekaboo playing. Lots of peekaboo helps reassure them that even though you leave, you will come back. The second factor that contributes to the sleep regression is this three to two nap transition.
So if we go through the three to two, not transition too soon, we can actually cause an overtired mess of a baby, lots of crying around sleep. And so that’s really difficult to manage as well. And then the third factor that contributes to this regression is the development of crawling and pulling up to standing. Those physical milestones can really wreak havoc on sleep.
So this is what I call this one, the triple whammy, this one, by the way, is one of those ones where, you know, you can have some babies and toddlers that go through no sleep progressions, except for this one. They seem to go through it. Now that being said, as long as your little one is an independent sleeper,
you stay consistent with your sleep environment, your sleep schedule, your sleep routine and your sleep independence. You don’t reintroduce habits that you don’t want to use in a longterm. You’re going to be fine, John, I assure you. And then the features, the progressions are toddler sleep progressions usually at about 18 months and 24 months. And they’re usually due to behavior rather than strictly about sleep.
They’re about pushing boundaries, which toddlers absolutely should be doing. That’s the work of a toddler and seeing how far they can go. And so at that point, it’s really just about creating clear rules and boundaries and staying consistent about those. We can talk more about that. If anyone has questions around that, hopefully that helps John. Next question from one five,
he said, can you please speak to wake windows? How are they determined? Why does everyone’s every sleep consultant provide different advice on week windows? How closely is it necessary to stick to the week window? So when there is some evidence around weak windows, mostly due to the sleep pressure. So they’re just drive to sleep. That little ones have before each period of being asleep.
So each sleep period in the day is relieving sleep pressure. Let, let me kind of back up and explain this a little bit more. So today at this point in the Eastern time zone, it’s about two 30 and my drive to sleep at two 30 in the afternoon is certainly higher than it was this morning when I woke up feeling refreshed, but it’s not as high as it’s going to be before my natural bedtime tonight performing natural bedtime is going to be super high.
The highest it’s been all day. Then when I fall asleep, it goes to zero. All right, so that’s adult sleep drive, baby and toddler sleep drive is a little bit different. We have spikes of sleep pressure happening throughout the day. That need to be relieved by naps in order to keep cortisol at bay. So wake windows are really rooted in the science of sleep around cortisol,
the stress hormone, and homeostatic sleep pressure, our drive to sleep in terms of the specific wake windows we can give ranges for week windows and mostly after working with well a thousand over a thousand little ones. At this point, I can say to you that I know at five and a half months old, for example, 99% of my five and a half month olds are on these wake windows and do very well with them.
There’s always little ones that are going to be out of that range. And so that’s where you may see variability because obviously my sample population might be different than another sleep consultant sample population, but Dr. Dina and I both agree on the week windows that I’ll talk to you about today and that are available on our website after seeing now together combined thousands of patients and counseling on sleep.
Hopefully that makes sense when five, there is some science to it, but some is also anecdotal and based on the patient and client population that we see, hopefully that makes sense. Okay, Joyce, you said I have an 18 month old who is generally happy taking two naps total day sleep one and a half to two hours nights sleep 10 to 11 hours.
Should I transition her to one nap or keep two naps for as long as possible Joyce? So I will first congratulate you on keeping two naps a day for as long as possible. We always want to delay delay, delay, not transitions. Sometimes it can seem as a we’re accomplishing something when we drop a nap early, but I promise you you’re accomplishing something with more success,
more than likely. If you hang on to more naps, if you delay nap transitions, that’s where we can actually avoid a lot of the issues that come up with Nat transitions. If we can delay them as long as possible. So great job. I’m also a big fan of don’t fix. What’s not broken. So absolutely if two naps a day are going well for your little one,
continue, there’s no need to drop to one nap a day. In fact, after Dina’s kiddos, I can’t remember how many of them, but at least one or two kept two naps a day into the second year. So at two years old. So there’s no rush to drop naps if it’s working for you. Great job. All right, Ashley,
you said, can babies learn independent sleep without any form of CIO’s? So this term really bugs me, Ashley, this cry it out term. It’s such a blanket term, and it’s very hard to know what parents mean when they say this term, because it can mean something very different to each parent. So typically when I hear this, though, it sounds to me as though,
does my baby need to cry in a room alone without my support in order to learn independently? And to that, absolutely not. I would say about 90 to 95% of my, of my clients want something very, very gentle. And so we work on minimizing the amount of tears that happen without parental presence, comfort and support. So it is important to understand that tears will happen with any habit or behavioral change,
but it’s the gentle part of, you know, sleep training or sleep coaching that is gentle. The gentle part of that is being able to do something about those tears. So being involved, being present, providing comfort and support, but the rest of it is up to your baby or your toddler or your older child. I work with little ones up to six years old plus and all the way from newborn stage.
And certainly in the newborn stage, we don’t do anything that is sort of typical sleep training methodology, but we do work on independence in very sort of hands-on age, appropriate age, respectful, gentle ways. So we can work on independence in all sorts of ways. There’s hundreds of ways of achieving independence. And all I will say is that none of them need to make you feel uncomfortable.
We can always figure something out for you that you know is in your comfort zone. And also what I would say is if you’re not comfortable, it’s not going to work because you’re not going to be consistent. So if you’re so uncomfortable to the point where you’re not going to be a hundred percent consistent, that’s not fair to your baby, your baby’s not going to learn due to the inconsistency.
So really, you know, that kind of approach is not going to work. So really to answer your question, Ashley, absolutely. They can learn independence without you having to sort of walk away and not return to your baby. That being said, I am supportive of all methods that parents want to achieve with me. I work along an entire spectrum from,
you know, I want quick results to I’m okay with it taking two to three months, as long as I’m minimizing tears and involved in the process every step of the way. So I’m happy to support all along that spectrum. Hopefully that makes sense. Okay. When Phi, you also asked when should a baby be transitioned to one nap and planning to put baby in daycare at 18 months,
any tips on helping him transition to the daycare schedule? So, first and foremost, there are many daycares who will, you know, insist that little ones go onto a one nap schedule, regardless of what schedule they’re taking at home. That is a little bit unfortunate in some circumstances, because we are sort of forcing babies down to one affidavit, perhaps a lot ahead of when they would be development ready to do so.
So that’s unfortunate in some situations in your situation, it’s great that you’re waiting until 18 months, because if that is the circumstance where they’ll have to go down to one nap a day, at least we waited until 18 months and that’s really great. You’ve hung on to two naps a day for as long as possible. So I, you know, I did answer this before,
but just to say that, you know, push off nap, transitions as long as possible, don’t fix, what’s not, what’s not broken. Keep two naps a day, as long as it works for you. But if you’re going into a daycare situation where little one has to be on a one nap schedule, we’ll then you know, you’ll have to follow their schedule in terms of helping him transition.
There really isn’t anything that you need to do ahead of time. Some parents choose to, you know, work on the daycare schedule before they get to take her. It really isn’t necessary to do that unless you feel strongly about that because mostly the daycare will help you figure it out. One thing I will say is that a lot of little ones do not immediately start sleeping at daycare and certainly don’t immediately start sleeping well at daycare.
And so, you know, the first, maybe few weeks or so not to scare you, you might have to kind of compensate with an earlier bedtime. And I would absolutely encourage you to do so if the little one hasn’t napped at all, or has taken a short nap, you can also consider an on the go nap on the way home from daycare to kind of bridge that gap to bedtime and try to avoid them to fall falling asleep in over tired,
I should say. But overall, the daycare will help you with that sleep schedule transition. Hopefully that makes sense. Okay. Stacy says I’m here without sound at the moment because I’m putting my baby down. Thanks for hosting. This. My question is I have a four month old. Sometimes she won’t have her evening nap between four and five. Sometimes even after a 45 minute walk in the stroller,
she’ll still be wide awake. Anyway, if this happens, should I be moving that time earlier or still aim for seven lately? I’ve been trying between five 30 and six 30 and it’s a struggle. She’s not upset. She just seems very awake. I do the same bedtime routine. So Stacy, this is a really, really common situation that occurs at around four months old.
Here’s what I would say. We absolutely should have a flexible bedtime in the first year of life. So we should never be saying that time is always going to be seven every single day. It should flex based on when baby woke from their last nap. So we should be following age appropriate week windows all throughout the day. But especially before bedtime, lot of times I’ll see parents say,
I know all about wake windows, I’m following them. And then I say, well, I’m a data person. So give me some data. I want to see what’s happening every single day with your baby. And it’s true. They’re following week windows throughout the day, but then by the end of the day, all falls apart and they’ve got a massive week,
but no before bed. And that’s usually because we’ve got this set bedtime and mine must be seven o’clock. I would say we have to be much more flexible about that and make sure that that last week window is not too long. So at four months old, that last week when it really shouldn’t be longer than about an hour and a half, sometimes up to two hours as we get closer to five months old.
And so if we’re waking up from our last nap at five, then six 30 is very appropriate to be asleep by then, by the time the week window closes. But if we happen to be waking up at 4 45 on a certain day we’ll, then we’re moving that bedtime earlier to accommodate and always making sure that last week window is not too long. Hopefully that makes sense.
One thing that can happen at this age is that we need to increase the sleep pressure for the final nap of the day. So often what I’ll get my clients to do is wake baby up from their second to last nap at 3:00 PM and use a two hour week window before the last nap so that we nail that last nap have it happened at 5:00 PM. So five to five 30 week baby up from their last nap by five 30.
And then we’ve got our 7:00 PM bedtime. All right. So we need to manipulate the schedule a little bit on certain days to make sure we’ve got enough pressure to take that last nap. And often we need to increase that week window just at that last nap to about two hours and then keep your bedtime week window lower at one and a half hours. Hopefully that makes sense.
That should help. All right, let’s move on. Vanessa is four months too young to sleep training. Is there a program you would recommend? I was going to try sleep sense. Baby is currently dependent on many props to fall asleep that is nursing or wearing. I want him to go to sleep on his own great question. Fidessa so first and foremost,
we can teach sleep independence at any age. It is never too early, nor too late. As I said before, I work with newborns, we, we encourage independence in the newborn stage. I work with little ones up to four to six plus years old. We can encourage independence. Then it’s not about whether we can or cannot sleep train. It’s about the way that we go about it.
The approach that we take, I can’t speak specifically to this sleep training methodology. I can speak to my own sleep training methodology. And that is just to really work within where are you now? Where would you like to be? And how would you like to get there? There are so many, there’s literally hundreds of different ways of approaching this. Now,
when some people ask is my baby too young for this, or I’m too old for this in some other instances. But typically when we say too young it’s for two reasons, one, am I using an approach that is going to be not age respectful in the sense that we’re not fulfilling specific needs of the infant? So for example, if that little one still needs overnight feedings,
obviously at four months old, many babies still need overnight feeding. So we wouldn’t choose an approach where we wouldn’t go in all night long and not to feed them unless you’ve got specific, you know, instructions or permission from that little ones, a physician for the most part, the four month olds that I work with, they’re still feeding once to three times per night,
full feedings, as long as they settle back to sleep easily and quickly that’s hunger. So even for independent sleepers, they can be feeding that many times overnight. So those are the things we want to think about at four month old, at four months old, not, you know, necessarily specifically the exact sleep training methodology that we choose that is really for you to determine based on,
am I comfortable implementing this approach? Can I stick with it with a hundred percent consistency? Because remember it’s not really fair to your baby. If you sort of start and approach and see all, try it out and then stop, right? Because now we’re sort of creating inconsistency, baby. Doesn’t understand the rules and it’s going to be harder. So I would say whatever method you kind of land on,
whether that’s with a sleep consultant like myself or something, you research on the internet, make sure that you’re feeling a hundred percent comfortable and ready to commit to that. Hopefully that makes sense. Okay. Next question. Kaitlyn. I’m co-sleeping I know you won’t advocate for this, but hope you will still advise. She is four and a half months old waking several times at night,
one hour for the first few hours, then one or two, three to four hour blocks, then weeks hourly for the last few hours. Often she leaks out because she’s rolled onto her tummy in weeks crying. I always nurse her back to sleep. Sometimes she’s actually hungry. Sometimes just needs the comfort. How can I decrease wakings? So Katelyn, as you guessed it,
decreasing wakings is going to be far easier if she is in her own crib. Absolutely. And one of the reasons for that she’s rolling onto her tummy. I will tell you, even though it probably seems scary to you right now, once you get her into her own crib, she’s going to have so much room to move around, to get herself on her tummy,
to get into a comfy tummy position. Many, many babies at this age prefer to have that room to roam and to have that room, to get them on their tummy. Remember we never ever, ever put BDS down on their tummies initially for sleep, but if you’ve put them down on their back and they roll their themselves, you know, 100% safe sleep space,
just affirm in a fit mattress, a fitted sheet, nothing on in around the crib, no bumpers of any kind. It’s safe to leave them on their bellies to sleep. Even if they’re face planted, because try phase planting on your mattress versus face, planting on an infant mattress, very different experience and a lot of little ones at first, they get upset with this rolling it’s.
A lot of parents will keep rolling them back, but that’s just the process of them getting comfy on their tummies. Once they actually get comfy ruling to their bellies in their crib, you’ll see many, many babies loving the sleep position and they sleep longer and deeper periods. So I would definitely encourage you. And you knew I was going to say it to get her into a crib,
to allow her that space, to let her figure out how to roll to her time and get comfy. She clearly wants to do that and to encourage her to fall asleep independently at the beginning of the night, that along with, you know, conducive sleep environment and age appropriate sleep schedule, a consistent routine is really going to help you with these overnight wakings.
Unfortunately right now she’s relying on you for sleep. And so, however, she’s fallen asleep at the beginning of the night, she’s going to keep wanting that repeated over and over again. Right? So as Dr. Dina and I both like to say, however, we fall asleep is the way we are going to need to return to sleep overnight. So the tone is set at bedtime,
but you will greatly decrease wakings if you can work on all of that. Hopefully that makes sense. Okay. So Nadia says we originally sleep trained by one-year-old daughter at five and a half months. It worked wonderfully. We have recently moved she’s teasing, and we just got back from a week at the cottage. So she was sleeping from HPM to 7:00 AM,
but is now waking up every night, around 1230. And again at three 30, at three 30, she’s awake for at least three hours. She should, we try to sleep, train her again, to get her back on track. Also she will be starting daycare at 14 months. How soon can I transition her to one nap and how, okay,
so Nadia, a couple of things, it sounds like she’s still on a two nap schedule, which is excellent. That’s really good because sometimes transitioning to one nap too soon at this age. And I know that’s coming up soon at daycare. It sounds like you don’t have a choice as I was talking about before, which is unfortunate because at 14 months I would absolutely hang on to two naps a day,
by the way, for any of you going to daycare, even if you think you don’t have the choice, ask the daycare, if they will maintain the schedule that works best for your baby, always use those words. This is what works best for us in our family. Is there any way that you can help us maintain this schedule? A lot of them are actually quite open to it.
So definitely ask, even if you think it’s not going to go, I’ll just ask a lot of my clients. I’ll help them with this. I’ll write letters to the daycare. I’ll call the daycare, just to explain the science behind the nap schedule. See if there’s anything that can be done, because it really is worthwhile to hang on to two naps a day for as long as possible.
I know this might not be what you want to hear in terms of transitioning to one nap. I’m going to tackle that since I’m on that top topic, what you will do is the way that I like to transition is we pushing out the first nap to 11:00 AM on day one of the transition, and then making it later by 15 minutes, every couple of days until we land on the ideal nap,
one or nap start time of no earlier than 1230. All right, at the same time that you’re doing this little, one’s only having one nap a day. Ideally when they’re on one nap a day at this age, their last week window, the week window between waking up from nap and bedtime is no longer than four hours. So if you’re a little,
one’s not quite getting there, they’re going to have a very early bedtime. So we want about two to two and a half hours of nap time. But when you’re first transitioning, because they’re not the starting early and likely to end early, you might need a very early bedtime no earlier than five 30, but five 30 bedtimes are sometimes needed at this age as they transition in terms of why your little one is waking overnight,
it’s definitely not due to teething. Teething is uncommonly the cause of sleep disruption. Lots of parents attribute sleep issues to teething. Really. It’s not a big cause of sleep disruption at all. If it is, it’s like the first there story, the three days before the tooth erupts, remember little ones teed on and off for the better part of two years.
So we can’t always be blaming steep issues on teething. I’m not sure why your little one isn’t waking or is waking so much at night. You didn’t, you talked about her being awake, but I’m not sure if she’s upset or not. If she’s not upset, I would just leave her. This could be developmental. For example, at this age,
often they start to walk or have a big explosion of language that could increase brain activity and then cause Wekings overnight. But if she is just kind of going through something where she’s not crying, just leave her. If she is crying and you did originally use a sleep training method that you’re comfortable with. Absolutely. You can apply it at this age as long as you know,
she’s not ill and everything is fine during the day. She’s not showing signs of illness or anything like that. Absolutely. That’s what you can do. Hopefully that helps Nadia. John, you said just to follow up, should I still be concerned about him being overtired, even if he’s able to sleep 10 to 12 hours overnight, could that still make the two nap schedule?
Okay. So on a two nap schedule, John, we often have a lower amount of nighttime sleep totals. We have to think about sleep totals in terms of the whole 24 hour day. So if we have nap transition coming up soon, we tend to have lower overall sleep totals and certainly lower nighttime sleep totals. I’m not concerned about that at all because I see that all the time,
lots of parents get concerned. They’re like, shouldn’t, they have 12 hours overnight. Not necessarily. If they’re getting what they need in a 24 hour period, they’re reaching their developmental milestones. So not falling asleep when they shouldn’t be like at meal times, they’re not seemingly over tired and they’re getting good quality sleep overnight and tired child will not sleep solidly through the night will not wake up at a reasonable time in the morning after six 30.
Okay. If those things are happening, it’s not likely your little one is overtired. Hopefully that makes sense. Okay. You said my 22 month old sleeps from seven to six 30 and naps about 1245 to two 15, but he’s crying you’re table. So I know he’s still tired. Can we increase? How can we increase sleep? Okay. So 22 month old,
you’re getting a nap that is an hour and a half. It sounds like, and you’re getting nighttime sleep of 11 and a half hours. So actually Robin that’s quite good. And the last week window is quite good as well. The one before bedtime. So I don’t think this little one is over tired. Now he may be overstimulated from something else.
So for example, is he at daycare or is he getting a lot of sort of time out and about during the day in that case, you might want to think about more lower key activities in the afternoon after his nap. Also many toddlers at this age can be very cranky when they wake up from their nap. So that also can happen, not really a science to it.
There’s just a lot of toddlers who are cranky after their nap. And we sort of have to kind of gently, slowly get them awake for the day and kind of finishing off the activities before bedtime. And remember, even at this age, the wake window between morning wake up and nap is much longer than what they can handle between nap and bedtime. And your wake window is great.
It’s really not too long for his age group. So there may be something else going on and we might need to, like I say, just kind of help him wind down a little bit more with lower key activities in the afternoon. Hopefully that makes sense. Okay, Jackie, you said, my question is in regards to my toddler who is three and a half years old sleep train,
since he was four months, he used to be a good sleeper until recently over the last few months, there have been a number of times when he has gotten hysterical and very upset at that time, screaming to use the potty for more snuggles to play downstairs, et cetera. Okay. So Jackie, this is extremely common at this age, around this three to four month mark,
where they’re coming up with so many different things that they need to do at bedtime. I need to go for one more potty. I need to have more struggles. I need to change my pajamas. I am thirsty. This is the work of a toddler at this age. This is their work. This is what we expect them to do. So with this age group,
it’s really important to understand that we need to set clear rules, clear boundaries, limit choices, and stay consistent. So what do I mean by that? So for example, with the potty, we will tell him, or even use a visual bedtime routine chart to say there’s one trip to the potty before bedtime. After that, no more trips to the potty.
I’m also a certified potty training consultant as well. We won’t talk about potty today. We’re just talking about sleep. But as an aside, if he is still wedding diapers overnight or needing to go to the bathroom overnight, I recommend keeping pull-ups overnight. Nighttime dryness is physiological. We don’t want to train that. It will happen eventually. And some little ones can still be wedding overnight up to,
you know, seven years old plus. And Dr. Dina can talk to you more about that as well. That’s quite normal. So we don’t want to interrupt sleep overnight by taking them for potty trips or anything like that. So big fan of just saying, we’ve got one trip to the potty before bedtime, then it’s pull-ups on and in Tibet, very clear role rule,
one potty trip, and then it’s done and you have to stick to that snuggles. Okay. That’s part of the routine. We get snuggles right before bed and then that’s it. Then it’s time for bed play downstairs. Absolutely not. Once we start the routine, we’re in the routine, we’re inside his room. Every step is a positive step towards sleep.
We don’t go backwards. We don’t go in and out of the room. So bedtime routine charts can help a timer can help for each step. So the you’re not the bad guy, the timers, the bad guy, you time each step of the routine. And once the timer goes off, we move on to the next step. Now with toddlers,
we can’t just say we can’t sort of reason with them and say, you’re okay with this, right? We’re going to move through the, through this routine. You’re not going to cry. You’re not going to push back. It would be lovely if they would just say, yeah, mom, no problem, but that’s not the work of a toddler.
The toddler’s work is to push back, to see how far they can push with boundaries. Your job is you can control your response. You can’t control hits. So you have to remain a hundred percent consistent with this. I promise you that, even though it sounds like your toddler wants to be in control of this process. He doesn’t. We know from the child’s development literature,
that little ones feel safer, more secure and reassured. If they understand that their parents or caregivers are in control, you need to be his calm, confident leader. If he thinks that he can push so far that you change the rules, he’s not going to feel safe and secure. He’s going to feel unsafe and insecure. So even though he’s going to express frustration and be upset about it at the same time,
he actually doesn’t want to be in control. So hopefully that makes sense with toddler. This is all about clear rules, clear boundaries, limit choices, and stay consistent. Doesn’t mean that it’s not hard. Doesn’t mean it’s not a process, but that does work as long as you’re consistent. All right, Katrina, you said, hi, how do I get my toddler?
26 months old to fall asleep on his own trapped in his room for an hour. Each night, usually sleep through the night. All right, Katrina. So if your toddler has never fallen asleep on his own, then this will be a process. Have there’s so many different ways to get this to happen at 26 months old. It also depends on whether he’s still in a crib or in a bed.
Hopefully he’s still in a crib because I absolutely recommend just like with nap, transitions to cold off on the crib to bed transition, we do not want a 26 month old to be able to get in and out of bed. They do not have impulse control to say, I should stay here. They’re going to keep popping up. Okay. It doesn’t mean we can’t deal with that.
Some cases we do have to deal with that. For example, when we have crypt jumpers and we’ve done all the things that we can to prevent the crave jumping. Now it’s a safety issue. So we do have to move to a bed, but try to hang on to a crib as long as possible. If anyone needs tips on that, let me know in terms of falling asleep on his own,
like I said, there’s so many different methods of doing this and it depends on what steep surface he’s in a lovely, you know, method that you can use at this age. It’s called the excuse me Kisii method. And it really, you know, I always hesitate to give you a specific method because they all need to be tweaked in some way for each individual child.
That’s what I do when I work with clients individually. And it all is so individual to the child. But in general, what the excuse me method is like is that you put a little one down, you make an excuse. Like I got to go pee. I’ll be right back to check on you. And as long as you keep trying to fall asleep,
I’ll come get you. Yes, you come back and give them good praise, give them a kiss. You make them another excuse and you leave the room again. And over time, you’re increasing the amount of times that you leave. You increase the, the, the amount of time that you’re outside of the room, but the time in the room,
we short kiss, big praise, make another excuse, leave again. So you have to keep progressing, but that can be a lovely method to kind of transition away from being in the room. And also it helps really a lot with separation anxiety at this age because you’re making a promise and you’re fulfilling it. So you’re kind of helping to keep anxiety at bay while you’re returning.
The other thing that can help with toddlers and falling asleep independently is to get them to be distracted while they’re falling asleep. So absolutely the room should still be a hundred percent pitch black, but a little bit of a red light. So red is a color on the spectrum that doesn’t disrupt the production of melatonin in the CP hormone. So a red night light can be very,
very helpful for this. The other thing that can be helpful is to listen to some toddler meditations. So there’s many, many toddler meditations that you can get on any of the apps that share podcasts. And if they can kind of listen to you, a calming voice, telling some bedtime stories or some meditations that can help to be distracting as well while they fall asleep.
All right, hopefully that helps. But there’s so many different methods that we can use at this age. And it really is individual to your situation, whether they’re in their crib or a bed, what your little one’s personality is and what you’re comfortable doing and how quickly you want results as well. Okay. Pooja, you said, is there a regression at 10 to 11 months?
My son will not sleep. Help me please. He used to nap wake up after 45 minutes also wakes up multiple times a night at 12 and four 30. So Pooja, there’s not a specific regression at 10 to 11 months. There is sometimes and not progression at 11 to 13 months, which often parents mistake as, oh, they’re ready for when that transition,
they’re absolutely not. They just need higher sleep pressure and a shorter first nap, other topic. And that would not affect nighttime sleep. What I will say is if your little one is not an independent sleeper for any of you who have little ones who are not yet falling asleep independently, it’s very, very difficult to determine if they’re going through an actual sleep progression related to a milestone development,
because they’re not yet independent sleepers. Non-independent sleepers tend to have much more inconsistent sleep. So it’s very difficult to determine why that little one is waking up overnight. Why that little one is waking up from naps on a sort of shorter naps because they haven’t yet solidified those independent sleep skills. The great thing about solidifying independent sleep skills is we kind of now have a baseline.
Okay. We know that their independence has nothing to do with what’s with what’s happening. Now we can put our investigator hat on, or I can do that and say, okay, here’s what may be happening because if we’ve got independence, we can now sort of filter everything out and see what exactly is happening. So it’s very hard for me to know Pooja,
but there can be so many different things happening at this age. Like I had said before, there is also a sort of triple whammy that happens earlier on the spectrum, like eight to 10 months, not 10 to 11 months, where if I’m crawling, if I’m pulling up to standing, if I’m getting separation anxiety, if I perhaps dropped to two naps a day too early,
that can sort of cause some havoc and sleep, but I would say, you know, make sure your independence is up to snuff. Make sure your sleep conducive environment is in place. You’re following age appropriate week windows. You have a consistent routine and you have established independence. If you have done that, then we use our either sleep training, methodology,
or sleep approach that we’ve used to establish independence to make sure that we’re staying consistent with that throughout whatever is happening at this period. Hopefully that makes sense. Okay, Charles, you said my son three months, eyes will pop open. The moment I sat him down, how do we get him to sleep in his bassinet Crip? So Charles, this is called a transfer.
I am transferred from being asleep in my arms to, or in your arms. I should say to being put down into a separate seat space transfers are very unreliable at three months old, after about two months old or so they’re not very reliable. They’re very disorienting and upsetting to little ones. So at this point, if that is literally happening frequently, every time you put them down,
it’s no longer worthwhile to do a transfer. You want to put little one down as awake and alert as possible into the bassinet or crib and help them settle wildly, stay in their bassinet or crib. So often what can help at this age is to do some padding and shushing. You can also roll him to his side and pat his bum, as you push him,
you can certainly keep picking him up and putting it back down when you feel uncomfortable with any level of frustration or crying or tears. But if little one is not crying at all, that’s a golden gift to you. And you can just either stand by, continue to pat shish, leave the room. They’re not crying, but if they are crying, it would just be about persisting with keeping them in their safe sleep space,
as long as possible, and helping them to learn to fall asleep in their space rather than in your arms only to be transferred, not successfully. All right. Another thing that you can do is warm up the bassinet or crib. So with, you know, a heating pad or a similar product, you can also have it smell like you. So if it’s the crib,
you can sleep with the crib sheets, you’d need at least two sets for this to work and through smelling like you and having warmth in the crib and bassinet that can help with this transfer, for sure. But like, as he transfers are typically unsuccessful at this age. And so we have to put an awake alert baby in and help them learn that this is my safe sleep space.
This is, I know where I am. I’m not getting disoriented. I’m not getting upset by that. Alright, Mary tests, you asked, why does baby sometimes wake up from naps, crying still tired? Should I try to put him back to sleep when to transition from three naps to two naps? How many hours a week between naps seven and a half to eight months old?
So seven and a half to eight months old. I would absolutely still be on three naps per day. Usually the first two naps are going to be shorter. So no more than an hour each we do wake baby up for that. And week Mondays are usually about two and a half to two hours and 45 minutes each. All right. So that’s what we want at this age,
waking up from naps, crying. It really depends. Did that little one fall asleep independently? Did they wake up from a very short nap crying that could be overtired or is it just baby’s temperament? A lot of babies are just have that temperament or personality where they’re waking up crying from their sleep. I promise all you parents and caregivers out there. They will eventually work out,
work that out, work that through. And they will eventually grow out of that. But there are some little ones that will just do that. Regardless as long as the quality of sleep is good. So basically that they’ve had for those first two naps, at least 45 minutes of sleep last, at least 30 minutes. And they’re sleeping well at night.
I’m not really concerned about that. And as for your question about trying to put him back to sleep again, if these had at least 45 minutes for the first two and 30 minutes for the last, there’s no need to put him back to sleep. Hopefully that helps. I’m going to take a sip of water. Wow. We still have so many messages and I don’t have that much time left.
I will try my hardest to get through them. Okay, Tricia, you said hello? My four year old has always been a context sleeper. He’s always slept in his own bed, but needs myself, her husband in bed with him amount of time. He can sleep alone, has increased since put body pillow with him, but he still wakes up about once per night and we need to go to him.
He doesn’t need anything milk, soothing, cuddling. He just wants to feel us there. We haven’t let him cry it out. There’s that term again? Because my other son sleeping next door is a very light sleeper suggestions. So Patricia, the way we fall asleep at bedtime is the way we want to return to sleep overnight. So if he falls asleep with you or your husband in bed with him,
it’s kind of unfair to ask him not to do the same overnight. So overnight weekends will not decrease most likely until you remove yourself from the process at bedtime. So I did talk about the, excuse me, kiss me. Beth had earlier on that is something that you could explore with your four year old, where you get him used to falling asleep on his own by helping him to listen to some toddler meditations,
giving him a red night light saying you’ve got to get out of the room to do something coming back in to say, great job, to give him a kiss, make another excuse and leave the room again with, excuse me, method. By the way, especially for a little one, who’s been used to your presence for this long four years. You could even start excuses inside of the room at first.
So the first couple of nights might be you folding some laundry on the ground just to get them used to you not being in the bed. So you can very gradually work up to longer and longer trips outside the room. So then he’s getting used to you not being there and falling asleep on his own, but it will be a project. Absolutely. And it takes time and work in commitment and consistency.
That is, you know, a great method at this age, but you do have to be quite consistent with him falling asleep on his own at bedtime. If you want to expect him not to need the same thing from you in the middle of the night, all right, Pooja, you asked what are the wake windows for 10 and a half months?
So the weekend is at 10 and a half months old are anywhere between three to three and a half hours. Allie, you said curious about traveling with a cry it out method, sleep trained at 22 month old. So with traveling with any age group, the very most important thing that you want to keep in mind is the sleep environment. You want to recreate that little one sleep environment,
wherever you go. So try to get a separate space for them. Definitely get a crib wherever you go. Some people take packing plays or travel cribs. I always like to see if wherever we’re going. There’s a baby equipment rental place that can give me an actual crib. There are lots of them, wherever you go. Just research those. Usually actual cribs go better and making sure that you bring along your noise machine,
anything that you need to black out the room, making sure there’s separation between your beds and then the rest of it is staying consistent. So staying consistent with your sleep schedule, staying consistent with your routine. And if you have a little one who is sleep trained, who sleeps fall, who falls asleep independently, we don’t want to go backwards when we’re on vacation,
that’s not going to get us great vacation sleep. We want to stick to that. We want to stay with independent state and by the way, that’s going to help them get the best vacation possible. Cause they’re going to be sleeping well too. All right, Diana, you said my three-year-old wants my husband to lie down with him to fall asleep. Have we set up a dependency for us to always be with him?
So Diana, if this works for you, I’ve always a big fan of don’t fix. What’s not broken. So let’s say you like to do that little one sleeps through the night, have no problems. Then it’s up to you. If you want to continue with that. If you have an issue with this, if you want to make a change,
then you have to, you have to make changes to see changes, essentially, in terms of him always wanting to do this, we do know from the research and also from Dr. Dean and I I’m seeing thousands of patients with sleep challenges in the past, that little ones tend not to sort of grow out of it. Usually you have to do something to transition them away from this habit.
Just like anything with regard to child behavior and habits. So more than likely you’ll have to do something to get your little one to fall asleep independently. At some point, are there little ones who just say, I want to sleep on my own eventually, eventually, yes, we don’t typically see that happening before about six years old. And it could continue beyond that.
But again, don’t fix, what’s not broken if it works for your family. Awesome. If it doesn’t and you want to see changes happen, you have to make changes happen. Okay, editor, you said my daughter is almost two and has probably slept through the night. About 10 times in the last two years, she goes to sleep on her own in her own crib.
She uses a pacifier. However, she wakes up several times a day and if I give her a bottle or cuddle, she goes back to sleep. Should I just not go in and let her cry it out? So again, the method that you choose for dealing with this editor is going to be dependent on your little one’s temperament, the conditions for sleep,
your parenting philosophy, what you can be committed and consistent with. But certainly if you were going back in giving her a bottle or cuddles, that might be an irresistible reward for waking up. So essentially she’s getting a reward every time she’s waking up. And she may also have the belief now that she needs you to fall back asleep. So I know she’s saying to herself,
not in so many words that, okay, I can’t actually sleep on my own at night when I’m upset or when I can’t get back to sleep. I need to call for mom to do X, Y, Z X, Y, and Z in order to fall back asleep. So she may have that belief. And so really right now, it’s about sort of rewiring that belief,
rewiring those brain signals to understand I don’t necessarily need those things. Certainly at two years old, we would not recommend giving bottles overnight. Got not good for her teeth, not good for her tummy and not good for sleep. If you do give some cuddles and you sort of want to gradually move away from that, you can set up a plan to do that.
So for example, I’m a big fan of this kind of fading out our support. If you don’t want to do things that are sort of rip the band-aid off, get results really quickly, but also maybe have a lot of tears. If you wanted to go more gradually, instead of just not going in, then you might wait a little longer to give cuddles.
You might have cuddles be as brief as possible. You might transition from cuddles to just a touch, a quick touch. You might transition from a quick touch to just to quick verbal reassurance. There’s so many ways to do this, but you know, I definitely would move away from the bottle if you want her to sleep through the night consistently. And I would,
progressingly move away from giving so much support. If you want her to kind of rewire those signals in her brain and understand I can do this. What a gift independent sleep is to our children. Really, my kiddos are now five and eight years old. And you know, the, the gift of independency is amazing for them. There is no struggle with sleep.
There is no anxiety or stress around sleep. It is just embracing, sleep, loving, sleep, and having that beautiful, independent rest time. How amazing it is it for us as parents and caregivers as adults, when we kind of just like languish, you know, in a comfortable way in our beds, we want the same for our children. So we can kind of rewire those signals and help her feel confident about that.
Then you’ll be seeing that she can consistently sleep through the night. Hopefully that makes sense. Okay. Diana, he says he also takes a long time to settle, to sleep nine to 10:00 PM. And doesn’t like to get up before 8:00 AM. So we’re always late for our daycare cohort cohort. Drop-off so Diana, if your little one is having trouble falling asleep by a certain time and getting up by a certain time because he has to be up,
then you definitely want to make sure that you are moving bedtime early enough to, to kind of offset that, right? So if he’s falling asleep so late that he doesn’t want to get up in the morning, then obviously that bedtime is too late. What you need to do is move everything earlier, including starting the routine earlier. However, if he also isn’t falling asleep independently,
that can also be a reason why we’re taking so long. So often we haven’t achieved independent sleep. When we haven’t achieved independent sleep, often it can be so much harder and take so much longer for little ones to fall asleep. Whereas if we have achieved independent sleep, we have a super easy, quick bedtime routine and little one falls asleep, ideally within about 15 to 20 minutes at most.
So a lot of times we’re putting so much work, so much sleep, work into little ones, falling asleep. And when we move away from putting all that work in, it’s actually like, oh my gosh, why didn’t I do this earlier? Hopefully that makes sense. All right. I want to get to a few more questions and I’m going to,
I have a few more minutes. I just want to pick things that I can answer in this time together. Hopefully that makes sense. Let me just see editor says thank you so much, so much great information. Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thank you. Okay, Meg. Okay. This is a long one, but I think you’ve got lots of details here so I can,
I can see what’s happening. My 15 month old is so inconsistent with his napping. We wake him up by 7:30 AM. Often he’s awake before NAF one is at 9 45 and usually he’s asleep by 10, 10, latest and sleeps for about 90 minutes. Second app is three hours after he woke up, which is usually around two 30. Sometimes he falls asleep in 20 to 30 minutes and sleep 60 to 90 minutes.
But just as often, he lies there for 30 to 45 minutes and then starts crying. Is our schedule off also at bedtime, which is usually four hours after nap. Two ended usually around seven 30. He takes up to an hour to fall asleep, not upset. The only time he falls asleep quickly is if he missed a nap and we put him down at six 30 again,
is it our schedule? Are we doing something else wrong or is he just a terrible sleeper he’s sleep train since nine months. So Meg, he’s absolutely not a terrible sleeper at all. I, I rarely think any kid who was a terrible sleeper really, it’s just about, you know, unique sleep habits and sleep behaviors and seek needs in terms of your schedule.
It’s not too far off, but here’s a couple of things I would think about one thing that I do want to, you know, let everybody know is around 15 months old, anywhere between 12 to 18 months old on a tune out, schedule those two naps, the lengths are likely to be inconsistent. And sometimes they’re quite short. I’m not concerned about that.
As long as they’re getting two solid naps in their day and their wake windows are not too long, I’m not concerned about that. One thing that you can tweak Meg is what you’re getting right now is a sort of imbalanced sleep. So you’ve got, you know, about 90 minutes of sleep in the morning. And then in the afternoon, sometimes it’s shorter.
Right? What I would actually prefer is waking him up from his first nap after about an hour using a slightly longer wake window in the middle before nap, too. So up to about three and a half hours, even up to four hours for some little ones, if they’re really resisting that second nap and then having them sleep for an hour to an hour and a half at most.
So a lot of little ones at 15 months old, what their schedule looks like is a, between six 30 to seven in the morning, not from about 10 to 11 and not from about two 30 to 45 to four. So sort of schedule your last week window before bed is, is totally fine in terms of him taking a long time to fall asleep.
We’re actually not concerned about that. Me and Dr. Dean always talk about this. You know, when we talk about little ones sleeping through the night or having a 12 hour night, you know, we don’t specifically mean that this little one is falling asleep and staying asleep like a log all night. In fact, independent sleepers. Don’t do that often.
For example, in cribs, they’re rolling around, they’re talking, they’re babbling, they’re singing. I loved it. When my youngest would sing herself to sleep. It was so cute. She did that for a very long time. And so that independent rest time that he’s getting before he falls asleep, when he’s not upset, that’s highly beneficial. He’s getting melatonin production.
He’s getting that beneficial rest time. He’s developing independence. It’s all good. So there’s not something that you specifically need to tweak necessarily. And maybe it’s just a matter of turning off the monitor and just relaxing yourself in the evening. He’s still good. He’s fine. If you really wanted to see if he could fall asleep fast, or if it’s kind of stressing you out for some reason,
and I get it, what you could do is try to shorten naps in the way that I talked about. So first snap is an hour, second nap, no more than maybe an hour to an hour and a quarter. And see if that four hour, week window works better, or you could increase your wake window a little bit with so much nap time in the day,
and so much sleep time in the day. You could increase that by maybe an extra 15 minutes and see how that goes, right? So you can make these kinds of little tweaks, but in terms of missing a nap in terms of the second nap, that’s usually because the first nap is too long and, or the middle week window, the week window,
before nap too, is too short. So try those tweaks that I talked about that often helps us to maintain a tune-up schedule for as long as possible, which is really what we want to do. So I would say absolutely your little one is not a terrible sleeper. He’s doing exactly what we would expect to have him at this age. And there’s just these little tweaks that maybe we need to do.
Hopefully that makes sense. Okay. Let’s see if I can squeeze one more question in, you know, oh, I love this one. Any tips for getting a seven week old, some independency skills during the night currently likes to be held to fall asleep. I love working with these little ones at this age. Yes. And I love that you’re asking.
So at seven weeks old, what we can do is, again, I love that feeding method. Where are we at? And where would we like to be? So eventually we want a little one to be falling asleep independently in their crib or bassinet. And we want to be doing that in a non-moving sleep surface. Right? So that means that if we’re using any movement,
you said likes to be held to fall asleep. So I don’t know if that’s using movement or not, but let’s say we’re at the point at which we’re using movement. Like with my first little one, Sophia, she needed vigorous bouncing on an exercise ball and it would just like rattle the brain. And it was a lot of work. It was like gymnastics acrobatics to get her to sleep for at the point of bouncing on an exercise ball,
for example, we would then gradually decrease the amount of movement that we need to do on a ball until we’re sort of just rocking baby to sleep. So we get rid of the ball no more bouncing we’re rocking. And then we decrease the vigor of the rocking until we get to a light sway. This thing happened over a few weeks by the, by the way,
excuse me. And then we go from a light swing to just simply holding baby to sleep. So if you’re already at that point in, you’re actually quite a ways along that independency progression progression, I should say. And so when you get to the point of where you’re just holding baby to sleep without movement, excellent job. Next step is now decreasing the amount of time you hold them before you put them down.
So let’s say we hold them to sleep. And then we wait 10 minutes before we put them to sleep or put them down. Let’s shave that time off. So maybe over the next week, we shave that off maybe to nine minutes, the next night, eight minutes, the next night and so on and so forth until you’re at the point where you’re just holding baby to sleep and putting them down.
And then once you’re at that point, you hold baby until they’re just falling asleep. So this is very different for every baby. It’s not a specific precise instruction. It’s about more of a feeling than anything. So when you kind of feel, oh, they’re just falling asleep, then put them down. And then the next part of getting into just go in awake becomes much easier.
Now I haven’t said that to make it sound easy. It’s not easy. It’s a process. And it takes time and commitment and patients. And obviously at this age, we’re super age respectful, super responsive, super hands on and, and, and comforting and soothing when baby’s crying. By the way, if they do cry more at any point when they’re put down,
we just repeat the process. So we try to give a little time and space, but at this age, not much, maybe we try some padding and shushing in the crib, for example, or in the bassinet before we pick them back up, but we pick them up. We pick them back up quite quickly and we try again, okay. But if you follow that independency progression,
which is what I do with all the newborns that I work with, we eventually get to the point where a little one is happy to be put in awake, confidently falls asleep on their own calm. We falls asleep on their own. And because of that, they’re going to get the best night’s sleep possible, even if they’re still feeding overnight, which we absolutely expected this age.
Of course that’s developmentally appropriate and normal. But the great thing about working on independency in the newborn era is that you emerge from the newborn era, with the little one who has independent sleep skills. So if you thought I’m going to sleep, train them at some point, you actually never need to because they know how to fall asleep on their own. The point of quote,
unquote sleep training is to help them learn to fall asleep independently. But if you get them to do this in the newborn stage, they know no other way to fall asleep. So especially at night or particularly at night. And so there’s nothing you need to do at that point when they’re older babies. And the other bonus of working on this in this,
in this age group is that, that sleep wake cycle maturation process or what some people call the four month sleep regression tends to not affect these babies, which is a big bonus of working on independence and newborn in the newborn stage. What happens is because they know how to fall asleep on their own. A lot of other babies at the three to four month mark,
when they’re going through what we call the sleep wake cycle maturation process, if they don’t yet know how to fall asleep on their own, and now they’re starting to mature in their sleep wake cycles, they’re starting to go through very light sleep stages when they go through those light sleep stages, they’re waking frequently because they need you to repeat those conditions that you gave them at bedtime over and over and over again.
But if they have these skills, they don’t need that. So you might get a little bit of sleep disruption at this, at this age three to four month mark, particularly when they start rolling from back to tummy, that it should be minimal. If not, you know, non-existent at this age. So that’s why I love working with newborns, my plug for working with newborns.
All right. So that’s the hour, everybody. I know I didn’t get to all of the questions, but I think I got to most of them. I really appreciate you joining me. We will send out a replay in case you missed anything, and you can get more information about our membership on our website, parents, playbook.com. Like I said,
Dr. Dina and I, Dr. Dina superstar pediatrician. Co-founded this membership group for parents. It’s all about supporting you with feeding, sleep health and behavior for all age groups. Happy to have, you know, answer any questions about that. If you want to email us at hello at parent playbook dot C O otherwise, thank you so much for joining me today.
And I will talk to you soon. All right. Thank you. Bye-bye.