Get Your Baby’s Sleep Back on Schedule

Getting your child's sleep back on track can be tricky, but if by following these tips, you will be well on your way to a great night of sleep.

As your holidays are coming to an end, are you ready to get your baby’s sleep back on schedule? Maybe the 7 o’clock bedtime went out the window, some naps were skipped, your little one ate a bit of junk food (okay, maybe a lot of junk food—I don’t judge!), or maybe there were a couple movie nights in your bed that turned into sleepovers. Spending quality time together, breaking the daily routines, and going with the flow is exactly what holidays are for.

Now that reality is creeping back, you might be wondering where to start to get back into your routine. If your little one’s sleep needs some TLC to get back on schedule, here are some ways to help!

1. Bring back the routines

Start with mornings! Wake your little one up at the same time every morning so that their body can start to adjust. When you get them out of bed, start with a diaper change, have some breakfast, then playtime, or whatever your typical morning routine looks like. Whether you follow age-appropriate wake windows, have a set schedule, or a bit of both, keep an eye on the time and your little one’s sleepy cues to find the sweet spot for putting them down for nap(s). Children thrive off of routine and predictability, so following your little one’s routines and schedules will help everyone get back into the swing of things.

2. Re-introduce sleep habits

Whatever approach to sleep you were following before, re-introduce it now that the holidays are over. For example, if your little one was snuggling in with you or naps were always on the go throughout the holidays, have them sleep in their own space again just like before. This can be easier said than done, so if your little one is having a hard time adjusting, offer some reassurance, comfort, and support, but stick to what was working before the holidays and you’ll have your sleepy bee back in no time!

3. Make changes gradually

If bedtime was late throughout the holidays and your little one is having a hard time falling asleep at their usual time, make the change gradually. Start by putting them to bed 15-30 minutes earlier over the course of a few days. If you continuously wake your little one up around the same time in the mornings and they’re having good naps throughout the day, bedtime will be much easier.

4. Be mindful of total sleep

To help your little one’s body clock adjust, it can be helpful to pay attention to their total sleep needs. You’ll want to make sure they aren’t napping too long during the day, or sleeping in too late, so that both day and night sleep can balance. This will be important to helping get your baby’s sleep back on schedule.

Here is a guide to help you!

5. Limit screen time

Light plays an important role when it comes to our circadian rhythm. Blue light in particular was disrupt sleep patterns if we’re exposed to it before bed. This is because our body is in the process of producing melatonin that helps us fall asleep. When we expose ourselves to light during this time, it suppresses the production of melatonin which makes it harder for us to fall asleep. To avoid this, try to limit screen time 1-2 hours before your little one goes to bed.

6. Follow the 3 C’s

Don’t be scared to get all that energy out before the bedtime routine starts! The routine is the part that is supposed to be calm, connected, and cozy. Setting up their sleep environment can really help bedtime go smoothly. This is a chance to cuddle up together, read some books, sing songs, talk about your day, and get comfortable for a great night’s sleep.

Here are some tips!

  • dim the lights: try using red light to help melatonin production
  • turn on a lullaby: play their favourite, calming song to play in the background while you do your bedtime routine.
  • put on comfortable and cozy pyjamas: ensure their jammies aren’t too big or too tight
  • introduce a stuffed animal and/or blanket: the crib should be empty until your little one is 12 months
  • check the temperature of the room: aim for about 20-22 degrees celsius

Getting your baby’s sleep back on schedule will take some time and patience, so remember to be kind to yourself and consider all the fun things your family experienced over the holidays.

If sleep has always been a challenge and you’re looking for a solution, along with support, I’m ready to help! Click here to send me an email or book a call to learn about how we can navigate your little one’s sleep together. I can’t wait to chat with you!

Happy Sleeping,

Sleep Regressions

Just when you finally start to feel like you’ve got your little one’s sleep figured out, suddenly everything changes. Now, before you start questioning everything you’ve done or changed in the last month, take a breath! It’s quite possible that your little one is experiencing a sleep regression. I’m here to remind you that even though they can be challenging, test your patience, and are absolutely exhausting, they are also temporary. Since we can’t completely avoid sleep regressions from happening, I’m going to help you learn all about them, how to navigate them, and how to cope and support your little one through them.

What are sleep regressions?

A sleep regression is when your child was sleeping great and now they’re experiencing some difficulties during naps and throughout the night and changes in their habits. On this side of the hive, we like to call them “progressions” for a few reasons. One, because “regression” refers to “a return to a former or less developed state”. This is actually the opposite of what is happening! Your baby’s sleep isn’t actually regressing—their sleep it’s being disrupted for a period of time because they are learning, developing, and growing.

Why do sleep regressions happen?

During a sleep regression, your child is experiencing a lot of changes. Their brain is developing and working hard to learn new motor and cognitive skills, This increase in brain activity can make it difficult for your little one to settle down and stay asleep during the lighter stages of sleep cycles. They become more stimulated, excited, frustrated, and feel the urge to practice their cool new trick when they should actually be sleeping!

Here are some reasons why your child might be experiencing a sleep regression:

  • Developmental milestones: sitting, crawling, walking, and talking
  • Growth spurts
  • Increased awareness of their environment
  • Separation anxiety
  • Becoming more independent
  • Developing circadian rhythm: research shows that it begins developing in the utero and continues to develop in the early years of a child’s life.

What are the signs of a sleep regression?

Not all babies will show the same signs, however here are a few indicators that your busy bee is going through a sleep regression:

  • Increased crying, irritability, and fussiness: It may be more difficult to soothe your baby both during the day and night.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns: Short and/or skipped naps, waking frequently during the night, early morning wakings, bedtime battles due to mood.
  • Increased physical contact: Your child might want more attention and/or to be held and comforter more often.
  • Changes in their appetite: this can look like an increase or decrease in feedings.

How long do sleep regressions last?

While there is not much research that has been done on sleep regressions, the research from a study that was conducted in 2002 showed that on average, regressions lasted for two weeks, however there was a range of 1-4 weeks.

What are common ages for sleep regressions?

Your little one can experience sleep regressions throughout the first two years of life, but they are common around the ages of 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months. It’s important to remember that every baby is different and they can go through regression periods at different ages.

Here is a little bit about what is happening at these ages:

4 month sleep regression

A newborn baby cycles through two stages of sleep—deep sleep and REM. At around 4 months, a baby’s circadian rhythm re-organizes from these newborn sleep patterns into more mature and adult-like sleep patterns that include lighter stages of sleep.

6 month sleep regression

Around this age, your child might be learning that they can do some pretty cool things like roll over, sit up, and crawl. Even when they are tired and should be sleeping, their little brain just can’t turn off, they NEED to practice until they’ve perfected. So mama, do lots of practicing during the day to help speed things up!

8 month sleep regression

Now that your little one can crawl around, they’ve likely realized that they can pull themselves up and scale the couch… and anything else they come in contact with. You might have experienced that sheer anxiety when turning on the baby monitor and seeing your little one standing and walking across their crib (yep, I’ve been there too!). Too bad nap and bedtime isn’t the time to show off these new skills! It’s also possible that your little one is experiencing some separation anxiety as they’re beginning to learn about object permanence.

12 month sleep regression

Your child is likely learning how to walk and talk just in time for their first birthday! They might be starting daycare or switching to a one-nap schedule. With so much happening around this age, it’s very possible that all of these things can be the culprit of some new sleep challenges.

18 month sleep regression

Now that your child is running around and calling demands, they’re getting a taste of independence. These cognitive and emotional changes, and all that stamina they seem to have can cause bedtime battles, frequent night wakings, and short naps.

24 month sleep regression

I don’t know about your 2-year-old, but mine talks non-stop, does not stop moving, and remembers everything (just like that popsicle I told her she could have later). This age is so much fun and of course we’re never bored or left in awkward silence, but all of these developmental changes can be the reason they’re having a hard time settling.

How to support my baby through a sleep regression?

Since we learned that there isn’t much that can be done to avoid sleep regressions, here are some tips for coping with them:

Remain consistent

Of course this is easier said than done, but trust me, you’ll thank yourself for it in a few weeks! Aim to stick to your schedules, routines, and sleep habits. Your baby didn’t forget how to sleep, they’re just experiencing some temporary difficulties. I encourage offering some extra support and comfort for a few weeks, but I also encourage continuing with healthy sleep habits so that once the regression is over, sleep can go back to normal.

Follow an age appropriate schedule

If your child has been going through a sleep regression for a few weeks, it might be time to adjust their awake windows. Ensuring they they’re not becoming overtired or going to bed under-tired can make all the difference when it comes to sleep.

Offer a comfort item

If your little one doesn’t already use a lovey, now might be a great time to introduce one. This can help your child feel more secure.

Practice, practice, practice

When you practice these new skills with your baby, they will learn them much quicker. This also provides an opportunity to show them how to roll over, sit up, stand up, and walk safely.

Seek support

Whether this is from a family member or a friend, remember to ask for help and take a break if you need it. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes for some self-care.

A little one who has great sleep skills can have an easier time transitioning through sleep cycles throughout a regression. If you are looking for a solution to your child’s sleep challenges, I am always here to help! To learn more, book a Sleep in Your Hive Consult. I would love to chat with you!

Happy Sleeping,

Is It Possible to Sleep Train While Breastfeeding?

If you’re reading this, I am going to assume you’re breastfeeding mama, is in desperate need of sleep, but you aren’t sure if you can have the best of both worlds. You’ve probably worked so hard to establish a breastfeeding relationship – I know first-hand how much time and energy it takes! With that time and energy, you and your little one might be lacking sleep and feeling all the feels that come with sleep deprivation. I also know first-hand how exhausting and overwhelming that is.

I know you probably have some concerns and questions around breastfeeding and sleep training, and I promise we will buzz right on into that! But first, I want to share how being sleep deprived can impact your breastfeeding relationship.

Running on a lack of sleep contributes to:

  • Irritability and impatience: If you’re a mama who might be struggling with breastfeeding and also isn’t sleeping, you might not be willing to continue your breastfeeding journey.
  • Decrease in milk supply: Chronic sleep deprivation can impact milk supply due to the increase in cortisol levels.
  • Hyperarousal: It can be extremely difficult to nurse your baby if they are figgity, irritable, and easily distracted. They might not latch well or have the ability to latch long enough to get a full feeding.
  • Snacking and snoozing: When baby is fatigued, chances are they aren’t getting full feeds. This looks like feeding for a few minutes, then baby falling asleep, and then feeding for another few minutes when they wake up. Not only do babies sleep better when they have a full belly, but it also promotes an adequate nursing relationship between you and your little one.
  • Mom not getting a break: If you’re a mama who is nursing every hour on the clock, you also aren’t getting a break. For some mamas, this can really affect their mental health.

It might’ve taken so much effort and commitment to get to where you are so I completely understand if you have some concerns. So let’s focus on you and get to the bottom of them.

Here are some common themes I’ve heard from mamas I’ve worked with:

Will my milk supply drop if I sleep train my baby?

Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process. If any feedings are weaned or pulled during the night, then yes, it could very well impact your supply. BUT, here’s what you can do to compensate for night weaning:

  1. You can lengthen nursing sessions or add extra feeds throughout the day to compensate.
  2. You can keep a feed during the night – no, we don’t discourage night feeds over here! It is possible to feed your baby during the night, but not be awake every hour!
  3. Pump before you go to bed. This will tell your body that it needs to make more milk, is a great option if you want to work on your freezer stash, or makes a bottle for the next night.

Every mama is different, but typically at the 3rd or 4th month your milk supply will regulate. If this is around the time you plan to sleep train, you might think that your supply is decreasing. Know that this is normal! You won’t feel as full or engorged as you used to and this is simply because your body is beginning to produce exactly what baby has been eating.

Will I still be able to feed on demand?

You should never be told that you can’t feed your baby or to wean feeds before a baby is ready. My approach when it comes to feeding on demand is quite simple – is baby actually hungry and feeding? This looks like big, open jaw movements and consistent sucking and swallowing. When this turns into a light suck with little-to-no swallowing (also known as a flutter suck), your little one is now latching for comfort versus hunger reasons. This isn’t a bad thing, nor do I discourage it! However, it’s important to know that is can help baby into the first stage of sleep — drowsy. So yes, you can absolutely feed on demand, but if you are trying to break a feeding to sleep association, I recommend not feeding right before nap or bedtime.

What if my baby eats better at night?

Those great night feeds would shift to happen during the day. I have noticed a trend that once baby is sleeping better during the night, they eat way better during the day. This is because baby wakes up in the morning with an appetite since they weren’t snacking all night long.

How am I supposed to know if my baby is eating enough?

If you are concerned about how much your baby is eating, try pumping for 24 hours and offering bottles. This way, you will know approximately how much your baby is eating and if they are getting enough calories.

Here is a quick reference for how much your busy bee “should” eat. Remember that all babies are different and this is simply a guide. Your little one might eat more or less and that’s completely fine! As long as they are maintaining their curve and are happy and healthy.

  • 0-3 months: 8-12 feeds in 24 hours, 1-3 nighttime feeds (14-42oz)
  • 4-6 months: 8-6 feeds in 24 hours (18-32oz)
  • 6-12 months: 4-5 feeds in 12 hours and (18-32oz)
  • 12 months and up: 1-3 feeds in 12 hours (8-15oz) along with 3 solid meals

When do babies stop feeding at night?

All babies are different! Can you believe that some babies stop wanting a feed during the night at 3 months old?! If this happens, then amazing! But I would never recommend to wean any night feeds before your little one is ready. If a baby is healthy and maintaining their curve, then by 6 months, most babies are capable of sleeping through the night without a feeding. Here is more information about how much sleep your little one needs both during the day and at night.

Will sleep training affect our bond?

Absolutely not! There is definitely something that is so special about breastfeeding. It does create an emotional bond between mom and baby, but bonding and attachment doesn’t only come from breastfeeding. Know mama, that you don’t have to sacrifice you and your baby’s sleep in order to have a secure attachment.

Here are other ways you can build a secure attachment and bond:
  • Practice baby-wearing,
  • Make eye contact during the day when you both are happy and rested
  • Talk and sing to your baby
  • Respond to their cues and needs
  • Practice skin-to-skin
  • Incorporate massage into your bedtime routine
I want you to know…

That no matter how you choose to feed your baby, you can absolutely help them form great sleep habits.

I would love if you could read this amazing testimonial from a mama I worked with who successfully breastfed and sleep trained her busy bee.

“We have struggled with sleep from day one with our 6 month old. He was sleeping on our chest, in the carrier or I was nursing him to sleep. Sometimes I would nurse him back to sleep throughout the night every hour! I did not think it was possible to sleep train my baby as we tried ourselves a couple of times. I liked Kyana’s approach and knowledge and I knew she would be able to offer what I was looking for. After only a few nights our baby made huge progress. After only a few weeks our baby is sleeping through the night and naps are a breeze. We have reclaimed so much of our lives as parents and our baby is so much happier through the day because he is well rested. I cannot thank Kyana enough for helping us. Working with her was truly life changing!”

My passion is to help parents and their babies get the sleep they want and deserve. I want you to feel confident navigating your little one’s sleep and trust your instincts. If you have any questions or if you’re looking for personalized 1:1 support and want to know how we can turn your Busy Bee in a Sleepy Bee, send me an email or book a Sleep in Your Hive Consult. I would love to chat with you!

Happy Sleeping,