Should You Wake A Sleeping Baby?

Should You Wake A Sleeping Baby

“Never wake a sleeping baby.” Even people who are not parents have heard the old adage. That one phrase perfectly describes how elusive baby sleep can be for exhausted parents. It almost feels superstitious in a way, as if by waking a sleeping baby, you may never get another moment’s rest again. So if your baby is sleeping peacefully, why would you ever want to wake them, especially if you’ve worked so hard to get them to sleep in the first place?

While this rule is generally true, believe it or not, there are a few times when waking your baby can be solutions to other sleep problems. Not sure when you should let your baby sleep, or wake them up? Keeping reading for four situations where you might want to consider waking your baby.

Should You Wake A Sleeping Baby? In These 4 Situations…Yes!

  1. Long night-waking
  2. Do you have a child whose schedule is being thrown off with a long night-waking, or insomnia, in the middle of the night? If so, letting him make up for that lost sleep by sleeping in the next morning can exacerbate the schedule problem. We’re not talking about the one off day here or there – of course you’d let him sleep in for those situations. But if your baby or toddler is consistently waking for long periods night after night, you need to be proactive and help him sort out his schedule. Although there are a few exceptions, long waking at night is usually caused by a schedule problem, especially if he is sleeping enough, but in multiple fragments.

  3. Naps are too long
  4. Even if you’ve managed to avoid common baby nap mistakes and mastered your baby’s naps and schedule, sometimes naps can become too long. With the exception of newborn naps, your baby or toddler should not nap longer than 3 hours total for a day, on average. Of course, there will be exceptions, but often if a baby or toddler is napping too long during the day, it will impact their night sleep, since the amount of total sleep in a 24 hour period will remain relatively constant. It can become a bit of a chicken and egg problem, because allowing a baby to make up for lost sleep at night by napping too long during the day could reinforce the very sleep problems you’re trying to resolve at night. Instead, you should tackle the sleep problems that occur at night and keep naps properly balanced, because night sleep is more restorative.

  5. To manage naps before a nap transition
  6. This one is a close relative to naps getting too long. Sometimes, right before a nap transition, it may be necessary to manage your baby or toddlers naps by waking him from one of his naps in order for there to be time for subsequent naps or to stop bedtime from getting pushed back too late. Nap transitions can be tricky and difficult in that babies or toddlers who are over-tired at bedtime tend to have more difficulty falling asleep at bedtime and staying asleep all night. For most babies older than 3-4 months old and for young toddlers, bedtimes should generally be between 6 and 8 p.m. While there are exceptions and all families need to find what works for their specific dynamics, but most babies have a biological need/rhythm to go to sleep early and wake early (before 8 a.m.). Quite often, a baby waking too early is due to bedtime being too late.

  7. Sorting out day / night confusion
  8. It’s not uncommon for newborn babies to come home being confused about day and night. Because many parents have been advised not to wake a sleeping baby, new parents will allow their newborn to sleep too long during the day (sometimes as much as 8 hours straight), but then become surprised when their baby is up all night, sleeping on and off for an hour or so. While in general, we do recommend letting napping babies sleep, sometimes this rule needs to be bent, and this is one of those times. In order for your newborn to sort out their days and nights, she will need to be awake during the day for her internal clock, or circadian rhythms, to adjust to life outside the constantly dark womb. For newborns, it’s best to limit any one nap to two hours and keep your baby up for at least 30 minutes to an hour to help reset her clock.

So, Should You Wake A Sleeping Baby? Sometimes…But Not Often!

Occasionally, waking your sleeping baby can be a temporarily solution to fix a specific issue, but should not become a long-term strategy. If this specific sleep problem has been occurring for just a short period of time (less than 1-2 weeks), it may just be a phase that you can wait out to see if your baby can self-adjust her schedule before taking action to wake her. If you find that you need to wake your baby frequently (as in a week, maybe two), more than likely you either have a scheduling issue or  there may be something else at work. But luckily, we can help!

Baby Sleep Help That Works – Guaranteed!

Between long night wakings, struggles at bedtime and naps that feel all over the place, baby and toddler sleep challenges can be tough! Our consultants at The Baby Sleep Site® specialize in creating Personalized Sleep Plans™ that are customized to your own parenting philosophy, and that will NEVER make you feel guilty or pressured. Even better, once you have your Personalized Sleep Plan™, your consultant will walk you through each step of implementing it at home.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

What do you think? Should you wake a sleeping baby? Have you ever had to wake your baby from sleep? Leave a comment below, and let us know!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is 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!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
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_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_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Need help knowing where to start? Visit our Help Me Choose page for helping choosing the Baby Sleep Site® resources that are right for you.

15 Ways To Mess With a Sleep Obsessed Parent

Sleep Obsessed Parent

For parents of little kids, sleep can often feel about as stable as a straw house. One mild breeze and the whole thing can come crashing down in the form of whines, tantrums, frequent night wakings and a bedtime routine that takes longer than running the Boston Marathon.

What makes this all the more frustrating is that we’ve spent so much time and effort building a strong foundation for that delicate structure that any bobble or slight collapse makes us feel like we have to start building all over again. We become the highly underpaid and stressed out General Contractor of a feeble construction site in a bad part of town.

In an effort to avoid total destruction, we sacrifice spending more time at that play date, or staying out late at a family’s party, in order to get our kids to sleep on time. However, a well-meaning friend, family member, or even a spouse who doesn’t realize how fragile this whole sleep operation is can blow an unintentional hurricane into your sleep routine, that will totally sabotage everything you’ve worked so hard to guard against.

And there is not enough plywood and duct tape to protect against that kind of disaster.

So what kinds of “hurricane-force” sleep interruptions should you be on the lookout for? We thought it would be fun to bring you some of the zanier sleep disruptions we’ve heard about over the years. Keep reading for 15 truly crazy ways to mess with a sleep-obsessed parent!

15 Ways To Mess With A Sleep-Obsessed Parent

  1. Choose nap time to start drilling that IKEA desk together.
  2. Start a favorite Disney movie 15 minutes before bedtime.
  3. Ignorantly ring the doorbell, even though there’s a post-it right on the door that politely reads “please knock”.
  4. Suggest going out for ice cream after lunch. When parents explain that nap time happens right after lunch, ask the toddler, “Wouldn’t going for ice cream be more fun than a nap?”
  5. Play hide and seek with the kid’s lovey before nap time, but then immediately forget the last place it was hidden.
  6. Shun a calming bedtime story, like Goodnight Moon, in lieu of something more “exciting”, like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
  7. Let the kids know that you’ll be catching up on all their favorite cartoons while they sleep.
  8. Decide that nap time would be the perfect time to test the smoke alarms.
  9. Announce before putting the kids down for nap that after they wake up, the whole family will be going to Chuck E. Cheese.
  10. Skip story time before bed, and opt for “trampoline time” on the mattress instead.
  11. Offer to put the kids to bed, and then dress them in pajamas with really scratchy tags on the collar.
  12. Ask the parents if the toddler can have a quick snack before nap time. When parents say yes, offer the toddler a few handfuls of Skittles.
  13. Figure that, since it’s a pretty day, it’s a great time to rev up that motorcycle…and then let it idle forever.
  14. Since the baby looked so tired, assume it’s okay to just let them sleep “for a couple of minutes to take the edge off”, RIGHT before nap time or bedtime. Be sure to hand the baby off to parents only after she’s woken up and is really starting to scream.
  15. Sneak in to give that adorable baby one last, big, noisy smooch before leaving to go home. Be sure to step directly on all the squeaky spots on the floor as you walk out of the room.

Keep in mind that while the occasional “gale force wind” of a sleep interruption may happen, and temporarily destroy the quality sleep you’ve worked so hard to build, interruptions are to be expected every now and then. Such is life. We just hope that your interruptions are a little less “cruel and unusual” than the ones we just listed!

(Oh – and in the meantime, if you want to hand this list out to your family and friends as a “things not to do do unless you want an enemy for life” checklist, we totally understand!)

Sleep Help For The Sleep Obsessed Parent

Even the most sleep-obsessed parent needs a little sleep help now and then. (Okay, maybe LOT of sleep help right now!) That’s where we come in :-) If you need sleep help from an expert, that’s guaranteed to work, we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of the sleep coaching process, in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Okay, confession time – what’s the craziest sleep-sabotaging technique you’ve witnessed? Let’s get the conversation going!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is 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!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
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_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_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

The Top 2 Self Soothing Myths BUSTED (We Hate #2!)

Self Soothing Myths

Google the phrase ‘self soothing’, and you know what you’ll find? You’ll find an assortment of the most contradictory articles you can imagine. You’ll find articles offering you tips on how to help your baby learn to self soothe, as well as articles telling you that self soothing is impossible for babies, and that teaching a baby to self soothe will lead to permanent emotional and psychological damage.

Gotta love the internet, right? ;-)

But seriously, what’s a well-meaning parent to make of all this? As loving moms and dads, we want the best for our children. So what does that mean for self soothing? Is self soothing a great thing to promote in your home (since a baby who can self soothe is a baby who is on the road to sleeping through the night), or is self soothing dangerous, and something that selfish parents inflict upon their little ones?

Miriam115As usual, we’ve got answers! Miriam Chickering, registered nurse, lactation consultant, and Baby Sleep Site® sleep consultant extraordinaire, is joining us today, sharing her expert wisdom, and helping us to de-bunk 2 of the most common (and most obnoxious!) self soothing myths. Read on for information on why babies CAN, in fact, learn to self soothe, and why helping a baby learn to self soothe isn’t the dangerous, cruel act some would have you believe it is.

MYTH #1: Babies aren’t capable of self soothing.

Not so – babies absolutely can learn gradually, over time, how to soothe themselves! Keep reading for Miriam’s explanation:

“Babies can absolutely self soothe – in fact, babies as young as a week old are capable of sucking on their fists when distressed or hungry. While this can be taken as a hunger cue, this is also the baby’s way of regulating and decreasing stress. It’s an instinctual behavior. But pretty soon, the 3-4 month old baby will, in a very coordinated and deliberate way, suck his fingers to help himself get to sleep. So, on all counts, infants absolutely can decrease their stress without outside help.

So, the question becomes not, ‘Can my baby self soothe?’ but, ‘Does my baby need additional soothing beyond his existing self soothing abilities in order to sleep?’

Now, to answer this more accurate question, we need to first understand the complex factors that lead to good sleep regulation in infants. ‘Behavioral sleep intervention’, or sleep training, is generally not all that effective when used alone, especially in babies 6 months and under. Why? Because in many cases, with young infants, their sleep (or lack thereof) is driven by non-behavioral factors.

See, babies are able to fall asleep more easily if certain conditions are met. For example, your baby will fall asleep more easily if she has a full tummy, is warm (but not too warm), feels safe, and is beginning to feel tired (but not over-tired). None of these factors are part of conventional sleep training methodology (unless, that is, you’re working with my colleagues and me – we’re all about holistic sleep coaching!), but they’re all key components in helping your baby sleep well!

The truth is, your baby’s feeding and sleep schedule, any medical concerns, your bond with your baby, your child’s temperament, and your parenting philosophy ALL play a part in how your baby regulates sleep. Once the conditions are right, and ‘the stage has been set’ for sleep, then and only then should parents address how baby is falling asleep.

What do I mean by how baby is falling asleep? Simply this – think about what your baby needs in order to fall asleep and then stay asleep (I don’t mean stay asleep for 12 hours, necessarily – just stay asleep for a 2 or 3 hour chunk). If your baby wakes often throughout the night, and has a hard time sleeping independently, even after you’ve addressed all the ‘setting the stage’ factors (like schedule, sleeping environment, etc.), then your baby almost certainly has what we call a limiting sleep association. A limiting sleep association is any activity you do that helps your baby fall asleep (and stay asleep) that isn’t sustainable for the entire period of sleep. Think rocking/nursing/patting/holding in arms (after all, we parents aren’t machines who can do these activities indefinitely!). Note that these are different than healthy sleep associations (like having a darkened room, white noise, etc.) – good sleep associations are those things that your child associates with sleep, but that don’t require ongoing work from you throughout the night.

In cases where there is a limiting sleep association present, our job is to gradually wean baby away from the limiting sleep association, and to help baby learn to fall sleep independently. And how does a baby learn to do that? You guessed it…by self soothing to sleep!

Now, I should point out that we do not expect an infant to self soothe the way an older child or adult would. If you consider the ways that you regulate your stress and emotions, it’s obvious that you wouldn’t expect your baby to do the same! And in this way, the ability to self soothe is something that grows and matures as your child grows and matures. However, when the surrounding conditions are favorable, a baby can learn the skill of going to sleep without a limiting sleep association – in other words, a baby can learn to self soothe to sleep.”

MYTH #2: Babies who “self soothe” aren’t really self soothing – they’re just giving up.

Oh, this one really gets our goat…fortunately, it’s not true! Read Miriam’s thoughts on this especially-frustrating myth:

“When people say this, they usually mean that when a baby stops crying after sleep coaching, he hasn’t actually learned how to self soothe and fall asleep independently; rather, he has learned that no one comes when he cries, so he might as well give up and not cry at all. In other words, it is assumed that he has been exposed to a TOXIC amount of stress.

What’s toxic stress, exactly? Toxic stress results from frequent and prolonged abuse and/or neglect. According to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, this kind of prolonged activation of the stress response systems can disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years.

Scary, right? This myth is especially cruel because it’s downright frightening. Fortunately, you can put your mind at ease, because in loving, healthy families, this simply will not happen.

Now, let me clarify – does toxic stress happen? Yes, when children are exposed to prolonged abuse, neglect, and adult violence. There have actually been a number of studies done over the years that support this concept:

BUT – does toxic stress occur when thoughtful, loving parents adequately ‘set the stage’ for sleep and then take a holistic approach to sleep coaching, and to helping their babies learn to self soothe? According to Harvard and the American Academy of Pediatrics – no! Even if that sleep coaching process involves some crying (for instance, if the parents use a check-and-console approach to helping their baby learn to self soothe and fall asleep independently) – in no way is that child’s controlled crying in a loving, nurturing, supportive environment even remotely similar to a neglected child crying in an abusive, violent environment. To call these two scenarios similar, and to allege that in both cases, the child is experiencing toxic stress, is ludicrous.

So here is the deep, deep flaw that busts this myth: anti-sleep coaching proponents take all of that toxic stress research, and use it to ‘prove’ that sleep coaching is cruel, and that babies don’t actually self soothe, but merely give up and continue to experience emotional and psychological distress. But this is simply not true; if you are teaching your baby to self soothe and fall asleep independently in a loving and nurturing environment, then there is no way that your baby is going to experience toxic stress!

So what’s really happening when sleep coaching works, and a baby learns self soothing? The baby has not been exposed to toxic stress, and has not learned to simply ‘give up'; rather, that child has learned the skill of going to sleep without relying on a limiting sleep association. You, the parents, are now able to sleep because you are not required help your child fall back to sleep every time she wakes.

One last point – lots of the self soothing myth perpetrators claim that even after babies learn to fall asleep independently without crying, they stay stressed. There was a 2012 study that seemed to indicate that babies who were left to cry during sleep training had elevated levels of cortisol – a stress hormone – in their brains. However, this is another myth we need to bust; as I tell all my clients who ask me about it, that study was profoundly flawed. If you’re interested in learning more, this article offers a great analysis of the many flaws in that study.”

Parents, I hope that Miriam’s thoughtful responses to these 2 trouble self soothing myths has set your mind at ease, and has given you confidence in your efforts to help your children sleep well. Here’s the main thing to remember: your baby is a complex and unique little being; for that reason, it’s key that you take a holistic approach to sleep coaching. What’s a holistic approach? It’s one that takes into account ALL the factors that influence your child’s sleep – including feeding, scheduling, sleep environment, health and development, temperament and personality, and more – and address those along with any limiting sleep associations. We at The Baby Sleep Site® are committed to using this kind of holistic approach to sleep with every client we serve – and we can help you begin your journey to holistic sleep coaching, too! Our expert sleep consultants are standing by, ready to get to know your family and your unique situation, and to craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that’ll help your whole family get the sleep you deserve.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Your turn, parents! We know that this is a touchy subject for some, and we’re eager to hear your thoughts and opinions. Share below, and let’s get the conversation started!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is 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!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
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_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_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Need help knowing where to start? Visit our Help Me Choose page for helping choosing the Baby Sleep Site® resources that are right for you.

Can Essential Oils REALLY Help Your Baby Sleep?

Essential Oils Baby Sleep

According to those who use them, essential oils can do a LOT to improve overall health. From getting rid of headaches to speeding healing to promoting relaxation, essential oils provide a ton of health benefits.

But what about sleep? Specifically, what about baby sleep? There are a number of oils that allegedly calm, relax, and promote better sleep…but can you use these oils to help your baby sleep? And, most importantly, even if you DO use them, will they actually work?

Amy Pond, a Baby Sleep Site® reader, offered to weigh in on this for us. As a big fan of essential oils herself, and a mom who uses them with her whole family, Amy was happy to share her own tips and suggestions for how to use essential oils to help lengthen and improve your baby’s sleep.

Read on for details!

Can Essential Oils REALLY Help Your Baby Sleep?

In a word – probably! While there’s no specific evidence that essential oils are directly responsible for improving sleep, there are studies indicating that lavender seems to relax and soothe babies, and lead to better, deeper, longer sleep. That’s not surprising, since lavender is the most well know oil for sleep problems; it is incredibly calming and has great sedative properties.

Roman chamomile is another great oil known for is calming, soothing, and relaxing properties. It has a light, floral scent and is wonderful for creating a peaceful environment.

Choosing and Using Essential Oils With Your Baby

First off, it is very important to make sure that your aromatherapy essential oils are pure therapeutic grade. Some store bought essential oils can have unwanted ingredients like fillers, pesticides, chemicals, fragrance and other synthetic additives, which don’t have the same healing benefits as pure oil. It’s also important to remember that less is more! Often, 1 or 2 drops is all you need.

Remember to always, always use a carrier oil when using essential oils on babies and children. Carrier oils need to be used for a couple reasons – they help dilute the very concentrated essential oils, they help aid in distributing the oils evenly, and they prevent the essential oils from evaporating too quickly.

Good carrier oils include olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and jojoba oil. Dilution ratios are approximately 1-2 drops per 2 tablespoons of carrier oil for a baby, and 1-2 drops per 1/2-1 teaspoon for a toddler or preschooler.

Now, when it comes to choosing oils, it’s important to note that how oils affect the nervous system will vary from person to person – so you may need to try other oils around bedtime to help your baby relax. Oils that work for your friends’ children may not work for yours. In fact, certain oils can actually have opposite effects on different people. For instance, wild orange is generally used as an energizing, pick-me-up oil for adults, but it can have the opposite effect on children, and be wonderfully calming before bed.

7 Ways Essential Oils Can Help Your Baby Sleep

  1. Try a bedtime massage
  2. Just before bed, and maybe right after bath, give your baby a nice massage with oil. Mix 1- 2 drops of lavender & roman chamomile with 2 tablespoons carrier oil and. rub all along the arms, legs, back, tummy, feet, ears. The massage itself is relaxing, and the fragrance of the oils will set the tone for a calm and peaceful night.

  3. Diffuse the oils in your baby’s bedroom at bedtime
  4. Just breathing and smelling the oils can work wonders for all of us – parents and children alike! You can put a drop of lavender on your child’s mattress, pillow, or lovey. Diffusing essential oils can actually help clean and purify the air in your child’s room, and can also be used to help with respiratory problems. Just a side note – I suggest using a cold air ultrasonic diffuser. Heating the oils can lessen their beneficial properties.

  5. Use oils at bathtime
  6. Bathtime can become relaxing time! You can put a few drops of lavender or roman chamomile in the bathwater with a liquid soap or with Epsom salt, to help it disperse throughout the water.

  7. Use essential oils to alleviate teething pain
  8. Stick with me here – teething does impact sleep, since it’s one of the many reasons why sleep can derail! If your baby is struggling with teething pain, try 1 drop of clove oil diluted in one tablespoon of carrier oil – then, dip your finger in mixture and place directly on gums. You can rub diluted lavender oil along the jawline as well to help with teething pain. White fir and roman chamomile oil can also help alleviate teething pain, when applied directly to the gums.

  9. Use essential oils to lessen discomfort from earaches
  10. If ear pain is keeping your baby up, try lavender oil to help with the pain. Rub diluted oil in front of and behind the outside of the ear. Melaleuca (tea tree) and basil oil are also great and can help with infection – put a drop of each oil on a cotton ball and place inside the ear and/ or rub all around the ear. You can reapply as needed for pain. (Quick disclaimer regarding earaches – if your baby’s ears hurt, it’s best to see a healthcare provider for further evaluation. While essential oils can help alleviate pain, most healthcare providers will want to evaluate and treat an infection themselves.)

  11. Try essential oils to help with colic / tummy pain
  12. Stomach discomfort is obviously a big problem when you’re trying to get your little one to sleep! Fortunately, essential oils can help. Ginger, fennel, lavender, wild orange, marjoram, or roman chamomile are all great oils for easing stomach trouble gently and naturally. Dilute a couple of drops with tablespoon carrier oil, and rub clock wise on tummy a few times. (Again – if you believe you child’s tummy trouble may be due to a more serious health problem, see a healthcare provider.)

  13. Essential oils can help alleviate coughing
  14. Blend peppermint, eucalyptus, or melalueca with a carrier oil, rub on the bottoms of your child’s feet, and then put socks on your child. Finally, rub the diluted oil on your child’s chest. This can work wonders at reducing and eliminating a persistent cough (although once again, if you suspect your child is ill, you’ll want to see a healthcare provider for evaluation – the oils are meant to alleviate the symptoms of illness, not to treat the illness itself). You can also use the diluted oil in a diffuser, so that your child gets the benefit of breathing in the aroma.

Essential Oils: Baby Sleep In A Bottle?

Now, all this said – essential oils won’t make your baby sleep, if your baby has sleep problems and sleep associations. Just like magnesium and iron supplements, and melatonin supplements, won’t solve your baby sleep problems, essential oils won’t make your child sleep. Rather, think of essential oils like white noise – it can help promote better sleep, but it won’t fix your child’s sleep issues.

Don’t despair, though – you CAN solve your child’s sleep issues, though the process of sleep coaching, or sleep training. When you sleep train, you gently wean your child away from any sleep associations she may have, and gradually teach her to fall asleep independently, without help from you. THIS is the key to eventually sleeping through the night; when your child can fall asleep independently at bedtime, she will eventually be able to fall back to sleep at night, when she wakes between sleep cycles, without help from you.

Once your child is able to sleep independently, you can use tools like white noise, blackout shades, and essential oils to help encourage better, deeper sleep. Those tools are like the icing on the sleep cake, so to speak. ;-)

Sleep Training Help That Works!

Now, sleep training can be tough for some families. But again – don’t despair! If that process is proving daunting or difficult for you, remember – we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of sleep training in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Your turn! Have you tried essential oils are part of your child’s bedtime routine? Have they worked for you? Chime in with questions or comments!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is 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!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
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_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_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 
 

amypond1Amy Pond is an entrepreneur and essential mama of 4 children. Amy has a passion for health and natural wellness.She loves to educate and empower parents with natural solutions for themselves and their families. Amy also enjoys spending time with friends and family, travel, reading, fitness and a new love of hot yoga. Read more about Amy, and about her passion for wellness, at Reaching For Balance.

25 Nap Time Tips: How To Help Your Baby Nap Better and Longer

25 Nap Time Tips

We know, parents, we know – judging by what we’re hearing from many of you in our Helpdesk, naps are high on your radar! You want to know how to make them more consistent, how to make them longer, how to make each nap as restorative as possible…in short, you want to become the Nap Jedis. And we get it; a great nap schedule is, after all, one of the keys to sleeping through the night!

bss_ebook_7napmistakes_left-transIf you’re struggling with short and inconsistent naps, you’ll definitely want to take a moment to download our free nap guide – it’s a great, easy-to-read guide that walks you through some of the most common napping mistakes we parents tend to make, and offers tips on how to solve them.
 

You’ll also want to keep reading this article – it lays out 25 nap time tips you can start using as early as your child’s next nap!

25 Nap Time Tips You Can Put To Use Today – As Early As Your Child’s Next Nap!

  1. Don’t force a nap time schedule too soon. Most babies aren’t ready for a by-the-clock nap time schedule until around 5 months or 6 months; forcing your child onto a clock-based nap schedule before then can actually results in over tiredness, which will make overall sleep worse.
  2. Rigid or flexible nap schedule? Speaking of schedules – all nap schedules don’t look the same, and not all nap schedules work for all babies. Some babies and parents do great with a flexible, relaxed daytime schedule that works more like a rough outline of how the day will go. Other families, however, do better with a rigid schedule that is extremely predictable. And even the same baby may need different schedules at different seasons of life, so be ready to get flexible or tighten up depending on your baby’s development and needs.
  3. For newborns and young babies – watch sleep cues closely. Don’t watch the clock to determine your newborn’s next nap – instead, watch for sleepy cues, like yawning, eye-rubbing, staring off into space, etc. If you wait until your baby is fussing, you’ve waited too long – crying is usually a sign of over tiredness.
  4. Offer your toddler a snack or meal before nap time. Your toddler’s rapid growth and development (not to mention boundless energy!) burn a lot of calories, so be sure to offer a meal or a small snack before nap time – this will prevent your toddler from waking early from the nap, out of hunger.
  5. Offer your baby a feeding close to, but not right before, nap time. Toddlers need food fairly close to nap time, but be careful about feeding your young baby right before a nap – particularly if your baby has reflux or GERD. Feed and burp, and then make sure your child is upright for a bit, so that you avoid a mid-nap spit-up session.
  6. Create a nap time routine. Bedtime routines are great, and nap time routines are, too! Your nap time routine can simply be a shortened version of your bedtime routine. Be sure to do it consistently before each nap, as a way to set the stage for good nap time sleep.
  7. Avoid screen time right before nap time. TV and sleep do not mix! Avoid having your toddler watch TV or play on an iPad or tablet right before nap time, as it may lead to a too-short nap. End all screen time at least 30 minutes before your toddler’s nap time.
  8. Avoid too many on-the-go naps. On-the-go sleep (the kind that happens in a carseat or stroller) is less restorative than sleep that happens in the crib. Occasional on-the-go naps are fine, but the majority of your child’s naps should happen at home, or at a caregiver’s.
  9. For younger babies, work on having one or two naps a day in the crib, if you’re working towards more independent sleep. There’s no rush to work on sleep coaching with your young baby, but if you’re working on helping your baby sleep more independently, aim for the first morning nap (and possibly the first afternoon nap) happen in the crib. You can also work laying your baby down drowsy but awake during these naps.
  10. No naps before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. For babies older than 3 or 4 months, a good rule of thumb is to have no early-morning or evening naps. Early-morning naps tend to reinforce early-waking habits, and evening naps tend to mess with bedtime.
  11. Wake your child from a nap that’s going too long. You don’t generally want to wake a sleeping baby(that’s especially true for newborns!), but there are times when you need to wake your child from sleep, and an extra-long nap is one of those times. If your child naps too much during the day, it will almost certainly affect night sleep.
  12. Avoid letting naps in the infant swing become a habit. It’s fine to use the swing to soothe and relax your baby – and it’s no problem if your child catches an occasional “swing nap”. But avoid letting your baby take the majority of her naps in the swing.
  13. Catnaps are normal for newborns and young babies, and during a nap transition. In general, you want an hour to be around an hour (or more) in order to be restful. If your child’s naps are always 30 or 45 minutes, that’s a problem. However, short catnaps are very normal for newborns, and during a nap transition, when your child is working on dropping a nap.
  14. Know the timing and signs of nap transitions. Speaking of nap transitions – it’s a great idea to read up on when they happen and how to ease the transition for your child. Nap transitions can be tough, but the more you know, the easier they are to manage.
  15. White noise can be key to making naps last longer. All those daytime noises – dogs barking, phone ringing, traffic bustling – can make it hard for your child to sleep well. White noise is a great way to block out these sounds, and help your child sleep deeply.
  16. Make sure your nap expectations are reasonable. We find that lots of parents make the mistake of expecting too much nap sleep from their children – so what they see as nap “problems” really aren’t problems at all. Be sure to learn how much nap sleep your child really needs, and keep your expectations reasonable.
  17. Understand that nap sleep and night sleep are different. Your child may sleep well at night, but that doesn’t guarantee naps will be great. Why? Because nap sleep and night sleep are very, very different, and are handled by different parts of your child’s brain.
  18. Remember that nap training and nighttime sleep training are different. Speaking of the ways that nap sleep and night sleep differ – remember that the approaches you use to sleep train for nights and for naps may need to be different. You may need to use different sleep training methods, a different pace, etc.
  19. Find a balance between noise and silence. Creating an optimal nap environment (read: quite and dark) can go a long way towards lengthening naps. But don’t go crazy with it; after all, depending on your living situation, daylight hours may be noisy around your house! Know that you can’t prevent every disruptive sound, and while it’s true that you probably can’t teach your baby to sleep through noise, you also can’t drop a “cone of silence” over your home at nap time, either! ;-)
  20. Find a balance between light and dark. Just as keeping your child’s napping area dark can really help produce great naps, keeping your baby’s room very dim during naps can be a great way to signal to your child that it’s time to settle down and sleep. But again, don’t go crazy with it…you probably won’t have much luck in making your baby’s room pitch-black at noon on a sunny day!
  21. Don’t switch to one nap too soon (many parents do!) Many parents make the mistake of assuming that the transition from 2 naps to 1 should happen around 12 months (probably because there’s a little nap regression that happens around that time), but most babies aren’t ready to transition to 1 nap at 12 months.
  22. Establish “rest time” for your toddler, once he’s done with naps. When your toddler is ready to stop napping, you don’t have to give up your afternoon peace and quiet! Instead, try establishing a “rest hour” for your toddler.
  23. If you’re sleep training, you may want to work on nights before naps. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, of course, but some families find that it’s easier work on nighttime sleep first, and then focus on naps once nighttime sleep has improved.
  24. When sleep training, know how long to work on a nap (and when to give up!) How long you should work on naps during sleep training will vary from child to child (and a sleep consultant can help you figure out the timing that’s best for your child), but in general, you don’t want to spend 2 hours working on one nap! ;-) Instead, work on a nap for awhile, then take a break. You can try again, or – depending on your nap schedule – you may need to wait until the next nap time to try again.
  25. Take “schedule busters” in stride, but don’t let them undo your nap progress. “Schedule busters” like teething, growth spurts, illness, and sleep regressions can destroy your child’s napping habits temporarily. It’s fine to take a break form your usual napping routines to comfort your child, but be sure that you avoid creating any new napping habits you’ll have to undo later.

Don’t Endure Another Bleary-Eyed Day: Get Nap Help From A Pro!

Working on nap sleep really stumps some families (again – nap sleep is different than night sleep!). But not to worry…if naps are a nightmare in your home, we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of the sleep coaching process, in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have nap time tips of your own? Share them below! Nap time questions? Ask, and we’ll answer!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is 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!
 
 
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.
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
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_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.