Co Sleeping With Baby: A Solution For Sleep Problems?

Co Sleeping With Baby

Co sleeping tends to be a controversial topic; some parents are adamant that co sleeping is the best and most natural sleeping arrangement for all families, while others are just as adamant about the dangers of co sleeping with a baby.

All that aside, though, what we’ve found in our years spent working with tired families is that, far from being interested in the debate, exhausted moms and dads have a far more pressing about question co sleeping:

“If I co sleep, will my baby and I FINALLY get some uninterrupted sleep?”

That’s understandable – for every parent who co sleeps out of deep attachment parenting convictions, there are many more who are interested in co sleeping purely because they are sooooo tired, and will do just about anything for better sleep.

And that’s the topic we’re examining today, parents – will co sleeping work as a solution to your family’s sleep challenges? Read on for details!

Co Sleeping Versus Bed Sharing: Defining Our Terms

First, it’s important to remember that the term “co sleeping” means different things to different people. Many automatically assume that co sleeping means parents sharing a bed with their baby, but that’s not technically true. That’s actually called “bed sharing.” Co sleeping can also mean parents and baby share a room; more specifically, that arrangement is called “room sharing“.

How Co Sleeping Can Help Your Baby’s Sleep Problems

Co sleeping can, in some cases, help both you and your baby get more sleep, and can solve the problem of constant nighttime waking:

  • Co sleeping tends to make breastfeeding easier, as there is much less back-and-forth between rooms.
  • Co sleeping allows for greater soothing: if your baby is in bed with you, or right next to your bed in a bassinet, you can simply reach a hand out to offer comfort if she fusses.
  • Dr. James McKenna, a renowned anthropologist, points to research which indicates that babies who sleep right very near their mothers tend to fuss less and actually sleep better, due to the calming influence of mom’s smell, mom’s warmth, and the sound of mom’s breathing.
  • If you work full time outside the home, co sleeping can be a great way to get some quality time with your baby. And if you breastfeed, and need to nurse more frequently at night, co sleeping can make that easier.

Why Co Sleeping May Not Solve Your Baby’s Sleep Problems

It’s not all good news, however; while co sleeping is a great sleep solution for some, it doesn’t work well for others:

  • Some moms who try bed sharing become so anxious and paranoid about keeping the baby safe in bed that their own sleep is actual worse!
  • If you’re a sensitive sleeper who tends to wake at every little sound, having your baby in the same room with you may prove to be too noisy, as babies tend to make lots of little noises as they sleep.
  • Speaking of little noises – some parents report that their babies actually sleep worse during co sleeping, because the parents themselves are overly attentive and pick up the baby at every little sound!
  • If your baby’s sleep association isn’t one that can be met through co sleeping, then co sleeping may not help you much. For instance, if your baby has to be rocked to sleep, and needs that movement to fall back to sleep quickly, then even if you co sleep, you’re still going to need to get up and rock the baby after every waking.
  • Some parents who co sleep for the sake of convenience end up discovering that co sleeping has itself become a sleep association that they have to undo later. While this isn’t necessarily a problem – there are ways you can gently transition from co sleeping (and we have a day-by-day co sleeping transition plan in our Members Area designed to help you do just that), some parents don’t want to inadvertently create new sleep challenges by co sleeping, so they opt to avoid it and work on their babies’ existing sleep associations.

Co Sleeping Can Be A Great Short Term Baby Sleep Solution For Some Families

In our experience, many families find co sleeping to be a good short term solution; it allows everyone to the whole family to get a little more sleep at night. However, unless you have plans to co sleep long term (because you are a proponent of attachment parenting, perhaps, or for other reasons), co sleeping isn’t really a solution to your sleep challenges. Most babies who wake frequently at night and take short, inconsistent naps usually have one or more sleep associations that are preventing them from learning to self soothe. If you ultimately want your baby to transition your baby from co sleeping, and have him sleep in his own sleeping area, separate from yours, then while co sleeping can be a great temporary fix, it won’t be a lasting solution. Instead, you’ll want to work on gently weaning your baby away from his sleep associations, and teaching him to fall asleep independently – this is the process we call sleep training. And it’s a process we happen to specialize in!

One of the easiest and fastest ways to get expert sleep coaching help is to try a personalized consultation from The Baby Sleep Site®? Your consultation will allow you to work one-on-one with an expert sleep consultant. Your consultant will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your family, walk you through each step of implementing the plan at home, and then will support you throughout the process.
 
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.

Does your baby sleep like a baby, or are you working towards “sleep like a baby” status? Share your stories and questions with us!

 
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.
 

Learn How Julie, Ali, Whitney, and Jennifer Got Their Babies Sleeping – And Learn How To Make This Your Summer of Better Sleep!

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You may know already that The Baby Sleep Site has worked with tens of thousands of families worldwide on sleep – but sometimes, it’s nice to put actual faces to those numbers. It’s nice to hear about real families, just like yours, who struggled through the same sleep challenges you’re facing, and who found the sleep help they needed.

And that’s just what we’re doing this month! Every Friday throughout the month of August, we’ll be spotlighting a new Baby Sleep Site® family – a family who, just like yours, was struggling through awful sleep deprivation and trying in vain to help their children sleep. You’ll learn why they contacted The Baby Sleep Site®, how our team walked them through the sleep coaching process, and what how they finally solved their children’s sleep challenges.

Meet Jennifer, and Hear Her Story!

(written by Jennifer Smith)
 
WashingtonIMAGE1Oh, how I remember the day I signed up for the personalized sleep plan on The Baby Sleep Site. Tears rolled down my face as I hit the payment button. I had just read the testimonials of other parents and knew, without a doubt, that I would never, ever be in their company. After Maddy’s severe colic finally abated, we had a window of about three weeks where she slept just like all the books said she would.

And then, it stopped. She would only sleep if she was on me in the baby bjorn and I was moving, or in my arms and I was bouncing on the exercise ball. I remember bouncing as my husband left for work early in the morning; when he returned late in the evening, I was still there, still bouncing. Thank heavens for my iPad, my Netflix subscription, and “30 Rock.”

The worst, though, was when neither bouncing, nor the baby bjorn, nor vigorous gliding would work. Hour upon hour of screams and cries. We re-read every book and tried every method. When that didn’t work, we contacted sleep consultants. Two fired us because their methods should have worked but didn’t. The third just stopped responding. I spent long days checking and consoling Maddy through naps she never took. At night, it would take at least 90 minutes and sometimes more than three hours of absolute misery for her to find the sleep we so desperately wanted her to get. I tried to remember my mom’s advice: “if mom isn’t relaxed, baby cannot be relaxed.” But nothing seemed to work. Until we found co-sleeping. Relieved, we gave ourselves over to it. It wasn’t restful, it was completely disruptive to our household, but at least Maddy was sleeping and we were getting more sleep than we were used to.

And then that, too, stopped working, and we were back to square one.

When I confessed to my husband that I had engaged yet another sleep consultant, I sobbed. “It’s just more good money after bad, but I can’t live like this any longer. I have to have something, even if it’s just false hope.” If that sentence reads dramatic, you’re getting sleep. Sleep deprivation, as my friend told me, is the thief of perspective. It is also the thief of joy. We loved Maddy desperately, and we desperately needed her to sleep so we could get the rest we needed.

When the personalized sleep plan arrived, I devoured it and felt a huge rush of relief. I showed it to my husband, who also took heart. It was helpful, understanding, and clear. Context was provided for all the suggestions and there was enough wiggle room for us to tailor it to our specific parenting styles and abilities.

WashingtonIMAGE3As we proceeded, guess what? It didn’t work. And so I dropped it. Having been dismissed before, I just didn’t have the heart to be turned away again. But I came back because I had to—I just had to try again. That’s when we found out that “generous” doesn’t begin to describe The Baby Sleep Site’s email support. I explained what happened to our consultant, Liz, and she picked it right up, asked questions, conferred with me, and together we tweaked the plan. In the ensuing weeks, I emailed over large issues and very small questions. I mean, I wanted ALL MY BASES COVERED so I asked every single question I could come up with—sometimes more than once. Liz responded in a timely way and always addressed both the questions asked and those that were implied—the questions I was too sleep-deprived to form. The kindness and care Liz showered on us surprised me. With other sleep consultants, they were certain and directive. “Do this, and Maddy will sleep.” But the suggestions didn’t always work. And sometimes, we proved fallible (as people—sleep-deprived or otherwise—are prone to be). Liz walked me through every little detail, cheered us on for every success, and reassured me with every misstep.

With the counsel of Liz and The Baby Sleep Site, Maddy went from co-sleeping to sleeping through the night in her own crib with the least amount of tears of any sleep training program. What seemed to me an insurmountable mountain was summited one step at a time. I really felt roped to Liz and knew that she had my back if I slipped or was unsure. The directions from her were so helpful and clear that every night, I knew going in exactly what to do. When Maddy had trouble clearing a new hurdle, and I started to feel helpless, I just reminded myself, “your only job right now is to do x.” Knowing that Liz was keeping an eye on the big picture allowed me to just do the next thing. I didn’t have to worry about how on earth Maddy was EVER going to sleep in her crib ALL NIGHT. I just had to do x. I just had to do y. And then, as the successes started piling up, I became more confident. And as I became more confident, so did Maddy.

It’s hard to put into words just how much our lives have changed. I become quite emotional when I think about it. My husband and I can now talk without Maddy present—a huge gift. He and I can sleep in the same bed all night long. By ourselves. Instead of trying to figure out how to make it through another day, I am rested and happy when I hear Maddy stirring in the morning. We can think about expanding our family. I can read a book, or a magazine, or watch a show.

A few weeks after successfully sleep training Maddy, she became ill with a bad cold. She was terribly congested and could only find rest if I held her upright in my arms. Once she was well again, who was happy to get back to their respective sleep spaces? EVERYONE.

I thought our case was hopeless, I really did. With the help of The Baby Sleep Site, I am another proud member of the satisfied client list. And I am as well-rested as any mother of a strong-willed and independent 18 month-old can be.

 
 

WOW – just wow. Jennifer’s story is proof that our sleep consultants really can help just about any baby sleep – even a baby who has baffled three other sleep consultants! And they will do it in a supportive, non-judgmental way that leaves you feel encouraged and empowered instead of defeated and abandoned. And as Jennifer’s story shows, it’s not an overstatement to call a consultation with The Baby Sleep Site® life-changing. In Jennifer’s case, it absolutely changed her life, and saved her from spiraling even further into exhaustion and despair. A consultation with a Baby Sleep Site consultant really is an investment – in your baby’s (and your) health, in your sanity, in your relationship with your partner, in your overall quality of life…this is more than just a purchase. It’s an investment in your family. And we hope it’s an investment you’ll consider making today!

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Meet Whitney, and Hear How She Took Her Daughter From Screamer To Sleeper!

Meet Whitney, a loving and engaged mom whose daughter was a decent sleeper for the first 18 months of her life. Sure, she’d wake up once, or maybe twice, during the night, but it wasn’t anything Whitney and her husband couldn’t handle.

But then a double-ear infection struck, and everything fell apart.

Keep reading to find out how, with unlimited help from Nicole, Whitney and her husband were able to help their toddler re-learn how to sleep – and to start sleeping through the night for the first time in her life!

The Baby Sleep Site: Welcome, Whitney! So – you had a tough little sleeper at home before you contacted The Baby Sleep Site, right?

Whitney:Berlinandmom6mos-1 You bet! In terms of sleep, things had gotten so out of hand in our household that we weren’t sure what we needed more–a baby sleep expert or an exorcist! For most of her life, our daughter had “only” been waking once or twice a night–but at 19 months she came down with infections in both ears. By the time she was well again we had completely undone any sleep progress we had made–she was now waking up 4 or 5 times a night and screaming for a half hour at a time.

The Baby Sleep Site: Holy cow, Whitney – I understand the urge for an exorcist! How discouraging, especially since you’d enjoyed 19 months of decent sleep. So frustrating!

Whitney: It really was. After three weeks of this, my husband and I were tense, cranky, and exhausted to the point where I was hesitant to get behind the wheel of the car, I was so tired. Of course, we got lots of (conflicting) advice, which we did our best to follow–until the sheer exhaustion and confusion wore us down. We knew that we needed a clear, consistent road map–and fast. I posted a desperate message on Facebook and a friend pointed me to The Baby Sleep Site.

The Baby Sleep Site: Woohoo! We love it when we hear about referrals like that – so awesome to see moms helping other moms, and spreading the word about The Baby Sleep Site! So, once you visited the site and saw what we had to offer – what did you think?

Whitney: Honestly, at first we were hesitant to hire a sleep consultant. It seemed like such an extravagant luxury…and things weren’t really that bad, were they? Well, we went through one more night of screaming–and got in touch with a consultant the next morning!

The Baby Sleep Site: Ha! I love that – you’re right that sometimes, in the light of day, things seem more manageable, but then when you’re up all night again the next night, it’s back to feeling desperate. Totally understandable. So, tell us – what package did you buy?
 

Whitney: We opted for the unlimited 30-day e-mail package and sleep plan, which turned out to be a godsend. Nicole held our hands for the entire journey. She began by taking a thorough history of our issues and goals. Then she sent us a lucid, frogB-onBugstep-by-step plan to remedy the various individual problems that were collectively contributing to our daughter’s poor sleep. We could tell she had a lot of experience with frustrated, sleep-deprived parents–the way she communicates is so clear, gentle and easy to follow.

Thanks to our e-mail subscription, we were able to reach out to Nicole any time day and night (I sometimes emailed her multiple times during the night and by the next morning she would have answered every single email!). She validated our frustrations and offered genius advice. Because she had spent so much time getting to know how we work as a family, all of her suggestions were tailored to us (for instance, she knew that I couldn’t stand more than a few minutes of crying at a time, and she knew that we were willing to take several weeks to get to our goal if need be). Above all, she offered humor, empathy and a hearty dose of encouragement to get us through the roughest patches.

 

The Baby Sleep Site: Yep – that sounds like Nicole! Her heart is huge – especially for sleep-deprived parents. 😉 Tell us, Whitney: after a few weeks of working with Nicole on an unlimited basis, what happened?
 

Whitney: Today, I am astounded at how far we’ve come. We wrapped up our consultation a few weeks ago, and the past few weeks have been some of the best of my life. Nope, angels haven’t descended from the sky and I haven’t won the lottery–but my husband and I have been sleeping (drumroll, please…) 8 or 9 hours a night–really! Now that we’re replenishing the sleep debt, we’re finally communicating like the loving, compassionate couple we were before. We’ve also had the energy to cook, clean, go to the park and play with our daughter–and even catch up with our friends. In short, we have gotten our lives back. At almost 21 months old, our daughter is now truly sleeping through the night for the first time in her life!! The results are incredible–she’s much more cheerful during the day and has blossomed under our eyes. Signing up with The Baby Sleep Site has been one of the best investments we have ever made!

 
Pretty amazing, right? Whitney’s story is further proof that it’s never too late to sleep train – even if your toddler has never slept through the night a day in his life, we can help. And, it’s also proof that sleep can fall apart with any setback – that’s why it’s great to have us as a trusted resource to turn to! And did you catch that last line? Whitney referred to her consultation purchase as an investment. That’s really what this is, readers. A consultation with a Baby Sleep Site consultant is an investment – in your baby’s (and your) health, in your sanity, in your relationship with your partner, in your overall quality of life…this is more than just a purchase. It’s an investment in your family. And we hope it’s an investment you’ll consider making today!
 

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You heard Whitney’s story – now, we want to hear yours! Tell us your sleep training story in the comments section below!

 
 
 
 

Meet Ali Koch, and Hear Her Story

Readers, meet Allison Koch. Ali lives in Pennsylvania and is mom to little Noelle. Noelle was a great sleeper – that is, until the 4 month sleep regression hit! That’s when Ali contacted The Baby Sleep Site® for help. Here’s her story…

The Baby Sleep Site: Ali, tell our readers a little bit about Noelle’s sleep history.

Ali: My daughter was sleeping through the night by the time she was 3 months old, and she slept great from 3-4 months. Right around 4.5 months, however, she started waking up in the middle of the night again, and so I nursed her back to sleep.

From then on, she was waking up at least 2, 3, or 4 times a night, and would remain awake for an hour and a half to two hours at a time! My husband and I took turns some nights, and we were extremely frustrated! I felt like I was going through the newborn stage all over again.

The Baby Sleep Site: Wow, you must’ve been exhausted! So how did you come across The Baby Sleep Site, and at what point did you decide to get personalized help?

Ali: I came to across the Baby Sleep Site in a Google search – I was searching for baby schedules and sleeping habits. I had already read MANY different books and theories about how to help my baby sleep better, so I decided to look into the site.

Ali Koch-1At first, I questioned the things I read on the site, and whether or not they actually worked. I was also skeptical about paying money to have someone help me after I felt like I had already tried everything on my own.

Finally, when my daughter was 9 months old, I sent a general email inquiring about which services would be best for our family. I was still EXTREMELY skeptical, and I really didn’t think they would offer me any advice that I hadn’t already tried or read about. But after about another three weeks of trying other methods, I finally gave in, paid the money, and begged for help!

The Baby Sleep Site: No problem; we’ve worked with skeptics before! 😉 So tell us – what happened after you bought your consultation package?

Ali: I got my Personalized Sleep Plan™ from Nicole very quickly – and it was awesome! The plan was extremely thorough and very helpful.

The Baby Sleep Site: And once you started implementing the sleep plan at home, what happened? How did things go?

Ali: I’ll admit, the first week was difficult. My daughter was not as consistent as I’d hoped she’d be. But through many e-mails back and forth with Nicole, we continued to tweak the plan so that it suited my daughter. And I’m happy to say that, after the first week, she was only waking once or twice a night, and falling back to sleep VERY easily – within ten minutes!

The Baby Sleep Site: Awesome! Glad to hear you stuck with it and made the necessary changes to your plan. How did Noelle’s progress continue after that first week, and how is she sleeping now?

Ali: Two or three weeks into using the plan, she was starting to sleep much more consistently. Within a month, she was going to bed each night at around 7 p.m. and sleeping until 7 a.m., with two good naps during the day. She would still occasionally wake up between 4 or 5 a.m., but honestly, she progressed by leaps and bounds during the time, thanks to Nicole’s help!

Noelle is now 20 months, and she’s still sleeping so much better than she used to. She now takes one nap in the afternoon, and usually sleeps 11 hours, straight through the night. Every once in awhile, if she is sick or teething, she’ll wake up, but it’s okay, because she’s able to fall back to sleep on her own.

The Baby Sleep Site: That’s some impressive progress – from waking 4 times a night, for one or two hours at a time, down to no night wakings — and in just a few weeks! We’re so happy for you and your family, Ali. :) Any final words for our readers?

Ali: We are so blessed and happy we came across this site, and that we went with this service! I highly recommend it!!

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You heard Ali’s story – now, we want to hear yours! Tell us your sleep training story in the comments section below!

 
 

Meet Julie, and Hear Her Story

Readers, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Julie. A mom of two little girls, Julie lives in Maryland. She came to us for help when her second daughter was just a few months old. Here’s Julie’s story…

The Baby Sleep Site: So, Julie, tell us a bit about your family’s sleep history.

Julie: I had many sleep struggles with my older daughter. In fact, when my older daughter was a baby, I had even hired a local sleep consultant to help with her sleep problems. It didn’t go well – the consultant’s approach was too harsh, and it went against my instincts as a parent.

I didn’t want to repeat any of that with my younger daughter. However, I did want to get my baby off on the right foot, and help her know how to self-soothe at a young age.

The Baby Sleep Site: That’s understandable! So, is that why you reached out to The Baby Sleep Site for help?

Julie: Julie PhillipsYes. I initially discovered this site while looking at sleep articles online. I began getting the free newsletters and reading through the articles on the site. At that time, my second daughter was only 3 months old and was not a particularly difficult sleeper. But again, I really wanted to start her off on the right foot, after my experiences with my older daughter.

I wanted to sleep train, but I wanted to do something gentle that fit with my parenting style and with my baby’s temperament (which I now know is the key to implementing a successful sleep strategy!) And so, when my daughter was 4 months old, I decided to do a consultation with Nicole’s team of sleep consultants.

The Baby Sleep Site: And we’re so glad you did! :) Tell us – what were your first impressions of the consultation process?

Julie: Well, to begin with, I was surprised at how quickly I received my plan. I submitted my daughter’s sleep history, and within just a few days, I received a really detailed, 20-page plan from my sleep consultant for nights and naps.

At first, as I looked through the plan, I felt nervous to start. My baby had been co-sleeping, she needed to be swaddled in order to sleep, and she had to have a pacifier every night. I just wasn’t sure how we were going to wean her away from all of that!

But I did start – and I followed the plan to the letter, asking Amy for clarification along the way. I received several helpful e-mails from her in response, which I loved!

The Baby Sleep Site: Good for you! And now that you’ve had some time to use that plan, and to reflect, tell us – did it work?

Julie: I’m happy to say that just a few nights after we started implementing our Personalized Sleep Plan™ (nights with VERY minimal crying, I might add!), my little girl learned how to sleep all night in her crib, unswaddled, without a pacifier, and only needing to wake once or twice during the night for feedings! It was amazing!!

Amy was there every step of the way, of course, to support me through the process. She was so supportive and encouraging as we worked together – she never made me feel like I was bothering her with my questions.

Honestly, the Personalized Sleep Plan™ has been nothing short of a miracle. It gave me the details I needed to be successful in sleep training, as well as the confidence I needed to actually carry it through and stay consistent. It was worth ever penny I spent on it — and truly, it’s a FRACTION of the cost of most other sleep consultants!

The Baby Sleep Site: Woohoo! We love stories like yours, Julie. So, now that your consultation is done, and that your little girls are sleeping well, tell us – how would you summarize your experience with The Baby Sleep Site?

Julie: The individualized attention, support, warmth, and understanding that I received during my consultation with The Baby Sleep Site was truly amazing. I cannot say enough good things about Nicole, her team, and her site. The access to all the free resources, as well as the affordable sleep packages, are truly a gift. I feel lucky to have found this site, because after just one short week of work, my whole family is now happy and rested! And there was so little crying involved – it was truly worth it. I have already recommended this site to several of my friends – and I’ll continue to do so!

The Baby Sleep Site: Well, thanks, Julie. :) Any last words for our readers?

Julie: The bottom line is this: Nicole’s team will do whatever it takes, and whatever you need, to ensure you get your child (or children) the rest they need. They gave me my sanity and my life back – and they can do it for you!

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You heard Julie’s story – now, we want to hear yours! Tell us your sleep training story in the comments section below!

Breastfeeding Tips For Sleep Training Parents (Plus Tips For Working Moms!)

Tips For Breastfeeding While Sleep Training

We’ve established before that you can indeed breastfeed successfully while you sleep train – sleep training does not mean the end of breastfeeding! In fact, we here at The Baby Sleep Site® are deeply committed to ensuring that breastfeeding moms sleep train in a way that both preserves their breastfeeding, and that achieves better sleep for their babies.

Miriam115However, in order to sleep train successfully while also keeping breastfeeding a priority, it is necessary to keep some key facts in mind. Read on to learn what Miriam Chickering, a lactation and sleep consultant here at The Baby Sleep Site®, recommends you do before and during sleep training, to ensure your breastfeeding continues to go well. Additionally, learn Miriam’s top tips breastfeeding tips for working moms!

Breastfeeding Tips for Sleep Training Parents: What To Do BEFORE You Sleep Train

  • Before you embark on sleep training, you work to resolve any issues with under or over supply or your breastmilk.
  • Ensure your baby is gaining weight at an appropriate rate and is in general good health – if there are weight gain or health issues, work with your healthcare provider to resolve those before you sleep train, and review any sleep training program or feeding recommendations with your baby’s doctor before getting started.

Breastfeeding Tips for Sleep Training Parents: What To Do DURING Sleep Training

  • If your baby is under 11 months of age, you may will most likely need to offer breast milk prior to any solid food feedings, and about 20 minutes prior to each nap. This helps your baby take in enough calories from milk as he begins to go longer stretches without feeding at night.
  • Gradual change is best when it comes to night weaning. You want to avoid breast infections and plugged ducts, so try not to make changes too fast. Slowly push feedings later and later until one feeding is dropped at a time. We use a series of fixed, flexible, and fluid nighttime feeding schedules to accomplish this – check out our Members Area article, How Fixed, Fluid, and Flexible Feeding Schedules Can Help You Night Wean, for more tips.
  • Keep age appropriate nighttime feedings. Many breastfed babies will eat once during the night throughout the first year. Many babies will need 2 feedings up through 8 months. Err on the side of keeping a feeding a few weeks too long rather than dropping a feeding too soon. It’s crucial that your baby get great nutrition and the comfort she needs during the night, for as long as she needs it.
  • Even moms with the best of milk supplies will notice a decrease if they routinely go 10-12 hours at night without feeding for weeks at a time. If your baby is sleeping for more than 8 hours at a time, either pump before your bedtime or early in the morning to maintain your supply.
  • If you have low capacity breasts (left and right breast together hold no more than 3.5 ounces even at their fullest) you may need to go just one 5 hour stretch at night and make sure your breasts are emptied every 3 hours the rest of the day and night.
  • If you are working with a sleep consultant, make sure she is aware of your breastfeeding goals and your personal needs when it comes to maintaining healthy lactation. Our team of sleep consultants are all trained to accommodate your breastfeeding needs, and will tailor your Personalized Sleep Plan™ to fit your unique breastmilk capacity, and your baby’s unique feeding needs.

Breastfeeding Tips For Sleep Training Parents: What Working Moms Need To Know

  • If you work full-time outside your home, you many need to continue with the Fill-up Feed (also called the dream feed) for longer than is normally recommended to help maintain a good supply.
  • If you struggle with low supply, you may be worried about how working outside your home will impact your breastmilk. However, you can likely maintain it if you can pump every 3-4 hours at work and nurse twice in the evening, once at night just before bedtime, once in the early morning hours around 3 am, and then squeeze in another breastfeeding session around 5 am and possibly a very quick one right before heading out the door. This won’t be necessary for every working mom, but it’s a great way to meet breastfeeding goals if you struggle with low capacity or have supply issues.
  • You may need to (or want to) take advantage of days off and offer to nurse every 2-3 hours during the day and hourly in the evening to boost supply.
  • If you notice a big drop in supply, and pumping/offering frequent feeds when you’re home isn’t working, talk with your doctor about plants, foods, or medicines that can help boost supply if you run into trouble. Some of the most commonly used are: high quality Fennel oil rubbed on the breasts after a feeding (keep off the areola to avoid feeding too much to the baby), Fenugreek, Mother’s Milk Tea (follow the directions for brewing carefully), Moderate carbohydrate intake (low carb diets can decrease milk supply), fiber supplements or a high-fiber diet, and -with your doctor’s supervision and prescription – Domperidone.

For even more breastfeeding help, check out these resources in our Members Area:

Sleep Training Help That’s Breastfeeding-Friendly!

Personalized sleep training help that’s breastfeeding-friendly? It does exist! With a personalized consultation from The Baby Sleep Site®, you can finally get the sleep coaching help you need, without having to worry about your breastmilk supply. Your consultation will allow you to work one-on-one with an expert sleep consultant who will prioritize your breastfeeding goals. Your consultant will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your family – a plan that accounts for your baby’s breastfeeding needs – and then walk you through each step of implementing the plan at home, and then will support you throughout the process.
 
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.

Share your tips for successful breastfeeding while sleep training!

 
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.
 

Sleep Like A Baby? Let’s Hope Not!

SleepLikeABaby

“Sleep like a baby”…..have you heard that expression before? If so, then you know most people use it to mean someone is sleeping peacefully and deeply. But if you have a baby at home, then odds are you know what all of us on The Baby Sleep Site® know: generally speaking, babies DO NOT “sleep like babies”!

Sleep Like A Baby? Here’s How Babies Really Sleep At Night

As many of you know, while babies may sleep deeply and peacefully for an hour or two, all that sleep is broken up by plenty of nighttime waking! And while sometimes, that nighttime waking is age-appropriate and necessary, we’ve all dealt with night waking that’s excessive and maddening, simply because it seems to have no cause at all. Here’s a look at how most babies really sleep at night (and why they wake):

Babies Wake At Night To Feed

Here’s a look at how often, on average, babies wake to feed:

  • Newborns to 3 months old: Feedings every 2-3 hours, on demand
  • 3-4 Months: 2-3 feedings per night or every 3-6 hours, on demand
  • 5-6 Months: 1-2 feedings
  • 7-9 Months: 1, maybe 2, feedings
  • 10-12 Months: Sometimes 1 feeding
  • 12+ Months: Generally no feedings

For a more in-depth look at night feeding averages (and to access a cool printable resource!), take a look at our night feedings by age chart.

Babies Wake At Night Due To Sleep Regressions

Oh, sleep regressions – they can break even the strongest of parents! A sleep regression describes a period of time (anywhere from 1 – 4 weeks) when a baby or toddler who has been sleeping well suddenly starts waking at night, and/or skipping naps (or waking early from naps) for no apparent reason. Parents often describe being caught totally off guard: you think your have conquered all your little one’s sleep challenges, when suddenly, out of nowhere, you’re back to constant night wakings and nonexistent naps.

These sleep regressions are usually linked to your baby’s development – when your baby has a burst of mobility, or suddenly begins speaking, you can generally expect sleep to take a nosedive for a short time.

For a deeper look at when sleep regressions happen, how they disrupt sleep, and what you can do to cope, check out our Sleep Regression Resources page.

Babies Wake At Night Due To Sleep Associations

If you can pin night waking on hunger, or on a sleep regression, it could be due to a variety of other reasons (check out our list of 15 reasons your baby wakes at night for details). But most often, in our experience, “mysterious” nighttime waking is often due to sleep associations. Simply put, a sleep association is anything your child associations with sleep. For many babies and toddlers, this includes being rocked, or held, or fed to sleep. Sleep associations like these can lead to frequent nighttime waking, since, when your child wakes at night between sleep associations, she needs your help to fall back to sleep.

Babies Technically Sleep Through The Night Much Earlier Than You’d Think

You may be reading all this and thinking, “Boy…I can’t wait until my baby finally starts sleeping through the night!” But here’s the bad news – sleeping through the night does not mean 12 straight hours of sleep; it actually means 5 straight hours of sleep with no feedings. Sorry! Learning that fact is a bummer, we know. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to settle for 5 hours of sleep a night for the rest of your life – you can work you way up to a baby or toddler who sleeps 10-12 hours each night, without interruption. It just won’t happen in the early months of your baby’s life.

Sleep Like A Baby? It IS Possible….With The Right Tools!

The expression “sleep like a baby” is largely a misnomer, it’s true – but you can get to the point where your baby really is sleeping like a baby. Sure, it won’t happen immediately after birth, and for many of us have to put in some sleep training in order to get to that point, but it is possible…especially if you have the right help! One of the easiest and fastest was to get to “sleeping like a baby” is to try a personalized consultation from The Baby Sleep Site®? Your consultation will allow you to work one-on-one with an expert sleep consultant. Your consultant will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your family, walk you through each step of implementing the plan at home, and then will support you throughout the process.
 
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.

Does your baby sleep like a baby, or are you working towards “sleep like a baby” status? Share your stories and questions with us!

 
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.
 

A Sleep-Deprived Mother’s Guide To Night Wakings (…before The Baby Sleep Site that is…)

SleepDeprivedGuide

Guest post by Emily-Jane Clark

Lie down in bed and close your eyes.

Baby cries.

Get out of bed noisily in the hope of waking up your soundly sleeping partner.

Whisper ‘FFS’ several times before grabbing your dressing gown and stomping into the nursery.

Pick up baby and sing to her softly while mentally recalling the book ‘go the F*CK to sleep.’

Return to bed. Start to drift off to sleep.

Baby wakes up.

Shout ‘NOT AGAIN’ loudly, in an attempt to wake up soundly sleeping partner.

Employ the ‘If She Screams Really Loudly I Will Just Feed Her’ weaning technique until she falls asleep.

Return to your bed.

Fall asleep for half an hour.

Baby wakes up.

Shout ‘IT’S YOUR TURN” at soundly sleeping partner to guarantee he wakes up.

Partner goes into baby. Baby screams.

Ten minutes later storm into nursery and retrieve crying baby from partner while tutting.

Consider whether ‘Not Being Able To Get The Baby Back To Sleep’ is reasonable grounds for divorce.

Use a method popular with the sleep-deprived known as Get Your Baby To Sleep By Whatever Means Necessary.

Baby asleep, return to bed.

Sleep for forty minutes.

BABY AWAKE AGAIN.

Climb out of bed and stomp back in to nursery as LOUDLY as possibly.

It is now 4am. You are not singing a sodding lullaby at 4am. Try to fob baby off with Ewan the Sheep instead. She screams. Decide to put the woolly little fraud in the bin tomorrow. ‘Soothes your infant into a deep sleep.’ Rubbish.

Make angry shushing sounds while walking baby around the room like a demented zombie until she goes to sleep.

Return to bed and close your eyes.

BABY WAKES UP AGAIN.

She must be teething? Or hungry? Maybe she is eating her teeth?

It is almost morning! You are tired and on the verge of exhausted madness.

So you resort to the last trick in the book – the “Sod It, She Can Sleep In My Bed” method.

Emily-Jane Clark is a freelance journalist and creator of popular blog HOW TO SURVIVE A SLEEP THIEF. She is currently writing a book Sleep is for the Weak- a humorous survival guide for tired parents! Join her on Facebook or @stolensleep.