Posted in Baby sleep, Blog, Mother, Rebecca

More sleep Q&A

Local sleep expert and parenting coach, Rebecca Michi, is answering your sleep questions. Post your questions and we’ll post her answers here.

My question is regarding getting my 11 month old to sleep. Ever since he was a newborn we have bounced him (on an exercise ball) or walked him (wearing him in the Ergo) to sleep. Naps it’s the same (although the car and stroller work too).

Now it is getting soooo tedious to do this, but I don’t know how to change it. I tried doing our Ball or Ergo techniques for a shorter while til he’s settled a bit (which can be quite the fight and take 30min) and then lying him in bed but he wakes up ready to go go go. I try to lay with him- pat him, sing, but he just starts to squirm around, stand up and tries to crawl/walk out of bed. We co-sleep (and live in a very small apartment) so I can’t leave him in a crib and just talk to him.

I’d be happy if I could just rock him to sleep, but his energy levels are SO HIGH that part of the challenge is just trying to get him to ‘come down’ by vigorous movement of some kind. And even rocking won’t do it. He pushes on me to stand up. We try to keep lights low, quiet activity prior to getting him to sleep, but it doesn’t really make him drowsy. If we let him just get naturally drowsy it would probably be around midnight by the time he went down. We usually try between 8:30 and 9:30 pm.

Any advice would be GREAT! We are so weary of this! Thanks!!

Thanks for your question.

I’m sure you know that your son doesn’t have the skills to get himself to sleep and is relying on you to bounce or walk him around so he can fall asleep. The only way you can get him to fall asleep independently is to teach him new skills (sleep train or, sleep learning as I like to call it).

I really wouldn’t like to tell you which technique would work best for your family, when I work with clients there is a lot of information I need from the family (including a weeks sleep diary) which goes into any technique choice(s) I make.

There are a few really good no cry sleep learning techniques out there, you can find plenty of information online. Research well and get as much information as you can on the technique you use, that way you’ll feel confident in the technique and more likely to make it succeed.

I can offer you some advice on making the sleep learning process a little easier.

Start on a Friday night when you can have the full support of your partner.

Make sure your son isn’t over tired. It will be a lot harder to get him to sleep if he’s over tired. He should be getting around 11 1/2 hours at night and 2 naps, 1 of 1 hour and the other 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours. If he is getting a lot less than this then the chances are he’s sleep deprived. If he is sleep deprived try getting him to catch up on sleep before any sleep learning.

Stick to a routine, both for your day and at nap and bedtime.

Be consistent, any sleep learning technique will work as long as you are consistent and don’t give in. Good luck.

Oh, I have a couple (my little chunk is almost 5mths old). 1)How do I transition from swaddle to sleep sack? She constantly takes her binky out when her hands are free which wakes her up…she has idle hands. 2)When is a good time to start letting them cry it out? She has shown me that she can do 9hrs straight and most nights she will do 6-7 hour chunk…but lately she’s been waking up every 3 hours (I think she’s teething). But, I want her to learn to put herself BACK to sleep! She is good at putting herself to sleep after all her needs have been met, but don’t want to feed her every 3 hours at night! Thanks.

Hi, Here’s the answer to your questions.

1) I think it’s probably better to get rid of the pacifier. Then she’ll be able to get herself back to sleep during the night without having to have it in her mouth. I would get rid of the pacifier before changing from the swaddle. It only takes 3 days to break the pacifier habit and at her age it isn’t too hard a habit to break. The older the child is the harder a habit it is to break. If you leave it much longer I wouldn’t advise trying to get rid of it until she is around 3 years old.

2) I don’t advise using the cry it out method, stay with her and help he get to sleep by herself. The key really is to be consistent any sleep learning technique can be successful if you are consistent and don’t give in. I’m sure if she no longer relies on the pacifier she will be able to get herself back to sleep during the night.

Good luck.

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