Frequently Asked Questions
I just had a baby, now what?
Having a newborn is exhausting, and it’s never too early to begin implementing healthy sleep habits. First start with a healthy, and safe environment, then you can begin a bedtime routine as early as the day you get home from the hospital if you’d like. Additionally, you can begin working on helping your baby distinguish day from night. True circadian rhythms, which are regulated by internal factors like hunger and tiredness (and other environmental activities) do not kick in until 8 weeks old. I do offer newborn packages to help you start a healthy foundation for sleep right away. You can learn more at www.pediatricsleepcoach.com/newborn
I see you live in Washington state, can you still work as my sleep coach?
Absolutely. With the help of technology, I work with families all over the world. We can work via the phone, FaceTime, Skype or whatever medium you prefer.
My newborn is fussy at night, is this normal?
Your baby is adjusting to the outside world. Remember he/she spent 9 months in your womb, and now has entered a world with loud sounds, lights, and a lot of stimulation. During the newborn stage your baby just needs to be loved, fed, cleaned – basic needs. Take time to hold, rock, and snuggle with your baby. The first few months are important for bonding.
With this being said, it is ok to set your baby down in a safe environment such as a pack and play to get household chores done such as vacuuming, dishes, laundry, etc. In fact, I recommend doing this. Newborns naturally tend to cry more between the hours of 4pm – 9pm, with a natural bedtime between 9pm – 11pm. If you are experience what they call, “the witching hour,” try to schedule your activities around this time. Additionally, sometimes taking a walk around this time helps baby relax. Something about being outdoors and getting fresh air has a calming effect on some babies.
When can I begin to implement sleep training?
Ideally to you would like to wait until you baby is at least 8 – 16 weeks of age to begin gentle sleep training and setting the stage for healthy habits. My favorite age to start a sleep training program is around 4 - 5 months old and beyond.
When you decide to commit to sleep training it is important for you to fully commit, and choose a time in which you can dedicate yourself a 1 – 2 week time period (sometimes you may not see improvement for 3 weeks). Every baby is different in terms of how quickly they respond. It may seem like forever, but it is a snapshot in time and good sleep habits will pay off for a lifetime.
How does the process work?
First, schedule a FREE discovery call. On that call I will learn from you what is going on and rule out medical issues. I will then send you a proposal based on your little one's age and the sleep issues we need to work through. From there you will receive a welcome email with next steps -- at this point you will be one step closer to better sleep!
Is there a way to sleep train my baby without tears?
No one likes to hear their baby cry. However whether it’s sleep training or anything else going on such as hunger or a soiled diaper, the only way your baby can communicate to you is by crying. I cannot promise a tear-free experience, but I will do my best to take things slow to minimize tears. I will do my best to teach you how to recognize tears of frustation versus hunger tears. Sometimes understanding a little more about why your child is crying is all parents need to feel more confident that they are not harming their children by not responding immediately to their cries.
Does sleep training always work?
Yes! Most methods of sleep training are very successful as long as the parents are committed and consistent in following through with the plan.
Do you offer a guarantee?
I cannot guarantee anything unless you are 100% being committed and consistent to sleep training. I can create the best plan for your baby, coach you through it, and remind you daily as to what you need to do, but you need to implement and execute on the plan since I am not there physically.
So far, 100% of my clients have been successful with sleep training when they listen to me. Night training develops first, then naps take a little longer to establish because it's a different form of sleep. This is like I like to have an initial consult. I want to find out what your goals are to ensure we are a good fit to work together. I will ask a lot of questions to see if I am 100% confident that I can help you because I need to ensure you, your partner and any caretaker are all aligned to work together. Nothing is guaranteed in life, but I can guarantee if we work together and you follow through with all my instruction to a "T" that you will see improvement and success. My end goal is to set you up for success!!!!!
Why does it take longer to see improvement with naps than nightime sleep?
There are several reasons why it takes babies and toddlers longer to develop longer naps. This is because of the following reasons:
1 - Day sleep and night sleep are processed differently in a baby's brain.
2 - Drive to sleep is higher at night (melatonin is stronger)
3 - More stimulation is occurring during the day making it harder for little ones to get settled before naptime
4 - Going to sleep in an overtired or undertired state can contribute to short naps
5 - Napping in an environment not conducive to sleep
6 - Timing of nap isn't correct
I’m frustrated that I feel like my day is out of sorts and I don’t know how to implement a schedule. At what age can I do this?
For the first few months of life you can implement a loose, schedule, but I do not recommend doing anything strict. Your baby is just getting adjusted to life in this universe. After 8 – 10 weeks of age you can begin following a loose schedule, and ideally around the time the baby is 4/4.5 months you can really implement a solid day/night schedule. Some babies do not form a good schedule until 6 months of age no matter what you try.
The one thing I do not recommend is following a set feeding schedule for your baby. Feed on demand – within reason of course - I am not promoting feeding every 30 min/hour (snacking) but be sure to meet your baby’s nutritional needs especially during growth spurts.
Once I teach my child how to sleep on his own, will he always be a good sleeper?
During the first year of your baby's life, there are so many new developmental milestones and sicknesses such as the common cold that can disrupt sleep. Sleep training is always an on-going process. The good news is that once we get a good plan in place, and you see improvement you will have the tools after initial coaching to help you and your child through these bumps in the road. And most of my packages include lifetime access to my online sleep support group, The Sleep Elite, so you will always have a sleep consultant by your side.
Should I start while my child is teething?
Babies and toddlers teeth on and off during first two years of life. If you're waiting for the perfect moment, it may never come.
We have a vacation in 2 weeks, should we work on sleep training now?
To see success you need to give yourself and your child(ren) at least 3-4 weeks at home following a sleep plan. This is due to being consistent and keeping to a routine. So if you have a vacation on the horizon it is best for you to wait until you return.
Crying and Sleep Training Links
This study shows that there are no lasting harmful effects of crying during sleep teaching. Click here to view study.
Parents Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Training Babies to Sleep
A great article about tears and how not all crying is bad. Click here to read.
Behavioral Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems: A Randomized Controlled Trial