Baby sleep Q&A with @sleep_likeababy
Sleep expert, Jay Walji from Sleep Like a Baby (@sleep_likeababy), supported us with a hugely popular Instagram takeover answering lots of important questions on all aspects of babies’ sleep. As a sleep specialist, she was the perfect guest to offer up lots of useful advice and support on everything from successful nap routines, to restless toddlers at bedtime and early risers.
At Tidy Tot, we want to support parents with helpful advice through the early years, not just related to weaning so we’ve jotted down all the fantastic questions and answers from the takeover in this blog for anyone who missed it. Keep your eyes peeled for more great special guests popping up throughout the year!
Question 1: How do I stop my baby waking early at 6am… she used to wake 7/8am?
Such a common question that I get asked. Early rising is very common for young ones. Her time of bedtime may need adjusting and/or the total length of nap duration may need altering if she still naps in the day time. Knowing your child’s wakeful window, nap lengths and number of naps is really important in order to prevent early wake ups.
Questions 2: How do I get my 6 month old breastfed baby (who’s started to wean) not to wake up twice in the night for milk?
So, if your little one is having a enough calories during the day and you know when they wake in the night they are using your breast to go back to sleep, then I would suggest trying to bring in some practices where you feed, but feed only for a feed, and not feed to sleep. That way you are breaking that association of sleep and feeding. You can try and create a pattern of wake up, feed, play and then sleep. That way, little one is not associating breast feeding with sleep. Try and feed when your baby is not so tried, in a wakeful window.
Question 3: My 15 month old still wakes during the night for a bottle. How can I settle him? He doesn’t like a dummy
He could be waking for a bottle because it helps him fall asleep when woken from from his sleep cycle.
If he is falling asleep on the bottle just before bedtime, then try and introduce a small activity to break the association.
A good routine could be:
- Get ready for bed
- Bottle of milk
- Story book
Question 4: My 19 month old wont let us put her in her cot awake. How can I change this?
The first question I would ask is can your child self settle? If she can’t then putting them into the cot and expecting them to just fall asleep is quite a tricky skill for them, as they haven’t been taught to sleep independently. That’s where teaching them skills to sleep independently can really benefit your little one, and yourself, because you can put them in their cot, walk out and they will fall asleep in time.
If your child does sleep independently but still cries when you put them in the cot, I would suggest looking at their wakeful window. How long have they been awake for? Are they over tired or under tired? That could be a big reason as to why they are not happy going down in their cot.
Question 5: Should you wake a baby from their nap, so they have the shorter nap in the morning?
I don’t recommend waking babies up. They are sleeping because they need it. Sometimes cutting naps or avoiding naps can cause restless nights and early rising, it really depends why you are cutting it.
Question 6: How do you settle a toddler to sleep when they’re anxious about being alone?
It’s teaching them that it is ok to sleep alone. Giving them the opportunity to learn the skill. Talk positively about being an independent sleeper and of course, you could try a reward chart to provide extra encouragement.
Question 7: My 5 month old only has 20-30 mins naps in the day. Same at night. Please help?
Sounds like your little one is struggling to transition from one sleep cycle to the next. It could be helpful to revisit the wakeful window time for your 5 months old to see if they are going for a nap too late. This can cause shorter sleeps. Or they may be associating milk with sleep.
Question 8: My baby is 10 months old and still doesn’t sleep throughout the night no matter what I do?
Sometimes doing too much around bedtime can hinder their sleep. Children love routine and once they are taught to sleep in ways whereby they can transition from one sleep cycle to another, without any assistance or association, you can see them making that smooth sleep cycle transition (sleeping through the night).
Question 9: How do you encourage baby to nap in a cot through the day? She sleeps all night in the cot
- Try introducing a very similar routine as bedtime
- Calm activities before nap time
- The darker the room the better when napping in the daytime
- Adjust time of naps, little one may be over tired or under tired
Question 10: Will giving my baby a dream feed at 10pm affect her sleep?
Dream feeding is great IF baby needs it and that can be based on age. Dream feeding allows us to control when to feed as oppose to reacting to a wake up. This is where littles ones can associate wake ups to settling back with a feed, a feed which isn’t really needed.
We hope this is useful and answers many of your sleep questions. To hear more from Jay follow her on Instagram and contact her directly for consultations.
Stay tuned to our social channels to hear about more upcoming Tidy Tot takeovers!