Can you teach baby to sleep through noise?

Baby Sleep With NoiseA friend of mine just had a baby and she gave me the idea for this article because her family was urging her to “get the baby used to sleeping with noise”. If I had a dime every time someone told me part of my son’s sleep problems were because he needed to get used to sleeping with noise…well I’d probably only have $5, but still, it was really frustrating to hear. Let me be honest. I have NO SCIENTIFIC proof of what I’m about to say. YOU CAN’T GET A BABY TO GET USED TO NOISE AND SLEEP THROUGH IT. Okay, you might be able to help them not wake up with every little noise, but overall, your baby has a certain threshold where certain things will wake him up. Period.

Update 8/2011: There has now been a study indicating there may be scientific proof after all that some people are hard-wired to wake more easily with sound while others sleep right through it. Read more here.

When your baby is a newborn, he will spend most of his time in a deep sleep and likely sleep through almost ANYTHING! In deep sleep, it takes a lot to wake us up (adults included). Around 6 weeks old, he will become more social and start returning your smiles. This might be around the time the dog barking or that noise outside starts becoming interesting and he may not be able to sleep through as much, but usually he will still be in a deep sleep a lot of the time. By 4 months old, the way he sleeps changes a lot in when he goes into deep sleep and may be even more affected by noise.

Babies will vary as to how much noises interest them or wake them up and how quickly they can fall back to sleep if they do hear a noise. I can tell you that both my boys could not sleep through just anything and were not portable babies (I could not bank on them falling asleep on the go). But, my second son could fall back to sleep MUCH easier than my first. You might think I didn’t make enough noise with them, but let me assure you, my first son was in a very noisy daycare for 8+ months (before we got a nanny and kept him home, partially due to his sleep issues) and he NEVER “got used” to noise! I don’t care how many people tell me that I didn’t do something, he simply has always been worried he will miss something fun if he has to sleep and he all but went on a nap strike at daycare. Even as a 3 year old, at bedtime, he would claim he was not tired, say he didn’t want to go to sleep and then fall asleep 4 minutes later (I am not exaggerating!). He was no different as a baby and would fight sleep tooth and nail. :) So, with both boys we made sure we put the barking dogs away and gave them a quiet place to sleep, in the nursery and in their crib. We later bought White Noise Machines, to block out some of the household noises and encourage longer naps and better night sleep. My other friend’s baby was able to sleep through a lot more noise and on-the-go compared to my boys. It’s just luck of the draw.

So, next time someone tells you to get baby used to sleeping with noise, no, don’t walk on your tip toes, but please give your baby a quiet place to sleep if he needs it. I can tell you one thing, I certainly can’t sleep with my dogs barking outside my door or the radio blaring. I don’t expect my babies to, either.

Do you think a baby can learn to sleep through noise?

ADHD and Sleep

ADHD and SleepIn a prior article, I talked about ADHD, Bipolar Disorder and sleep problems. Today, I have a guest post from Peggy Dolane telling her story of her daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD and how it affected her sleep and how her family solved the problem. I thought this could help others with children diagnosed with ADHD and suffer sleep deprivation.


ADHD and Sleep

by Peggy Dolane
Peggy Dolane is a freelance marketing writer and strategist. Her current projects include writing the blog for the Edge Foundation, a non-profit that provides coaching for students with ADHD.

Three years ago, my seven year old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD. Looking back on it, difficulty falling sleep was one of the significant symptoms of her ADHD. From day one, even as a baby, sleep didn’t come as easily as for her older brother. She would lie in her crib, clearly tired, singing to herself for up to an hour every night. Often, you’d find her sitting up in her crib asleep!

Once we moved her to a big-girl bed, sleep became a major issue. She just couldn’t seem to let go at the end of the day. The more tired she was, the harder it was for her to go to sleep. Exhausted, she would have major tantrums at night. And, she refused to stay in bed. If I didn’t sit right outside her door until she fell asleep, I’d find her in the kitchen smearing strawberry jam like finger-paints on the refrigerator door. Or, she’d be happily sprinkling all of my spices throughout the kitchen. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a turmeric stain out?) More nights than I care to remember, she would wind up in a hysterical tantrum that only ended when she was spanked. Somehow, that worked to send her off to sleep. Traveling was also very difficult for our family. We had to book two hotel rooms so at least half of our family could get some sleep. She would be up until 1 or 2 in the morning EVERY NIGHT.

I read every book on sleep to help her. But nothing worked. Desperate, we consulted with a psychologist who worked with us on a very strict sleep regime with no results. During this time she was diagnosed with ADHD and I read that sleep disorders are common with children who have ADHD. I found an article that said that Melatonin was a helpful, natural, supplement that many people with ADHD use to fall asleep.

If you had asked me before raising my daughter if I’d consider giving my child medication to help her sleep, I’d have said, “no way!” I remember as an adolescent lying awake at night, tired, unable to sleep and my mother having me tough it out. That’s just what you do. But we were desperate. No one wants to spank their child to sleep at night. And I knew we had done everything we could, read every book, tried months of expert-led behavioral therapy. Worst of all, bedtimes were damaging my relationship with my child.

At our next visit, our psychiatrist affirmed that many of his patients took Melatonin daily to sleep. So with mixed emotions, we tried it. The very first night we saw a dramatic improvement. The child that regularly took an hour or more to fall asleep immediately lay down and slept. Quietly. With no fuss. Within three weeks she was sleeping 11 hours a night instead of 10 and her evening tantrums had dramatically decreased. I started being able to enjoy being around my child at bedtime.

Two years later we are still giving her Melatonin every night. Does she still need it? You bet she does. One night last week, I forgot to give it to her. She quietly played in her room for two hours. I didn’t even know she was awake until I went to check on her before going to bed myself at 10:30. At that point she was overtired, so it took her another hour to fall asleep after I gave her the Melatonin.

I’m not a doctor, so I would urge anyone who is considering using Melatonin to consult with their pediatrician first before trying it. I have heard that Melatonin can give some people nightmares, but that hasn’t been our experience. I do know that problems with sleep for children who have ADHD are not uncommon. Over at Café Mom’s ADHD support groups, you’ll frequently find mothers who are struggling with a child who can’t sleep and mothers who found Melatonin was the only thing that worked. For our family, I’d call it a life saver.


ADHD Resources

Symptoms of ADHD and ADD: and Family Doctor

Learn about Melatonin

Helpful books about ADHD


ADHD Support

CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

CafeMom (search ADHD)

Have your own ADHD story to share? Share it with us!

Struggling to get your baby or toddler to sleep well at night and during naps? Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. Have a newborn at home? Download our free guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know, or purchase a copy of our comprehensive e-Book on newborn sleep, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.

New Pamphlet Available

Wake Too EarlyI am now offering a pamphlet on shifting your baby or toddler’s schedule. This is designed for those parents who have already mastered most of their child’s sleep problems, but their baby or toddler is simply waking too early in the morning or going to bed too late at night. Your child is getting all the sleep he needs, but the schedule does not seem to fit in with the family. I recommend only attempting a schedule shift once your baby or toddler is already sleeping fairly well and he is old enough to withstand some over-tiredness without too much trouble. For babies very sensitive to becoming overtired this might not be until 8 or 9 months old. For those not very sensitive to over-tiredness, this can be as soon as 6 months old. Toddlers are usually ready and should be no problem to shift.

Learn more about the Shift Your Child’s Schedule pamphlet, now!

10 Month Old Baby Schedule

10 Month Old Baby Schedule

This article outlines the average 10 month old baby schedule, including feedings, solids, naps and night sleep.

Skip to the schedule

10 month old’s sleep

At this age, most 10 month olds can sleep through the night, without a feeding, and take two naps for a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours per day plus 11-12 hours at night. A very small percentage transition to one nap as early as 10 months, but not many, so assume 2 naps unless you are certain. Most babies get very very overtired and sleep can spiral out of control, so I always recommend keeping two naps as long as possible as the average age to transition to one nap is 15-18 months. If you’re having trouble with naps, you might be interested in helping your baby nap.

Although many babies can go all night without a single feeding, in my experience, some do better with one feeding after 4 or 5 a.m. and sleep longer than not feed and get an early wake-time. I would need to know your specific situation to make a recommendation, but just recognize that all babies are different. By this age I would not expect more than 1 feeding, typically, if any at all. I would recommend at least an attempt at night-weaning because it is a chicken and egg problem. It’s hard to encourage more eating during the day when he is eating at night and it’s hard to discourage eating at night when he isn’t eating more during the day.

All babies vary, but here are some rough schedules you can use to make your own for your unique baby. I should warn you that I am in the camp that breast milk or formula should be the primary nutrition for the first year and solids come secondary. Below are the amounts we recommend. For more information on starting your baby on solid food, visit our sister site, Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods. It includes recommendations about how and when to start solids, as well as helpful information on food allergies, recommended products, baby-friendly recipes, and more.

Note: At 10 months, sometimes you notice a sharp increase in appetite (no doubt partially due to activity levels with crawling and possibly cruising), so what’s different about the 9 month schedule is the addition of another snack, some of the serving sizes and the # of servings.

Amounts per day:

• At least 3-4 nursing sessions per day or 24-32 ounces formula or combination of both
• No more than 6-8 oz of water or juice (to ensure they drink enough breast milk or formula)
• 2 servings (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons dry) baby cereal
• 2 servings grain (1 serving = 1/2 slice bread, 2 crackers, 1/2 cup Cheerios, or 1/2 cup whole grain pasta)
• 2 servings fruit (1 serving = 3-4 Tablespoons)
• 2-3 servings vegetable (1 serving = 3-4 Tablespoons)
• 2-3 servings protein (1 serving = 1-2 Tablespoons)
• 1 serving Dairy (1 serving = 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/3 cup cottage cheese or 1 oz grated cheese)
• You can also offer cooked egg yolk (but no egg whites until 1 year old due to allergens)

The first schedule is what I call a “staggered” approach. My first son did better nursing fully and then having solids a bit in between nursing sessions. He was a little hungry but not famished. He just didn’t do well with stopping nursing mid-way to eat solids.

Sample 10 month old schedule

7:00 – Wake and Breast milk or Formula
9:00 – Breakfast
10:00 – Morning Nap (at least 1 hour)
11:00 – Breast milk or Formula plus snack
1:00 – Lunch
2:00 – Early Afternoon Nap (at least 1 hour)
3:00 – Breast milk or Formula plus snack
5:00 – Dinner
6:15 – Begin bedtime routine
7:00 – Breast milk or Formula and Bedtime (goal to be asleep at this time)

If your baby doesn’t mind a more “consolidated” approach to eating, like my second son, here is another type of schedule:

Schedule 2

7:00 – Wake
7:15 – Breakfast plus Breast milk / Formula feeding
9:15 – Snack
10:00 – Morning Nap (at least 1 hour)
12:00 – Lunch plus Breast milk / Formula feeding
2:00 – Afternoon Nap (at least 1 hour)
3:30 – Snack
5:00 – Dinner plus Breast milk / Formula feeding
6:15 – Begin bedtime routine
7:00 – Small BM/Formula feeding (possibly) and Bedtime (goal to be asleep at this time)

Note: When giving any feedings during your bedtime routine, be careful not to create sleep associations, which we saw become important at 4 months old.


Need Baby and Toddler Sleep Help? We Have the Resources You Need!

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!

What is your 10-month old’s schedule?

Baby Sleep Gets Social

Baby Sleep Gets SocialNow there are new ways to get to know me. You might want to know more about the woman behind The Baby Sleep Site™. I’ll add these to my Contact page, too, but thought I should announce it, too.

Get to know me and my family reading my personal blog, Mommy Brain Dump. Okay, I didn’t think of a better name at the time. I *was* pregnant when I made it.

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Hope to see you around the ‘net!