We are excited to announce a very special upcoming event in April: All About Naps with Sarah Healy. To get us all prepared for the event, Sarah is addressing three of the most common issues parents face with sleeping through guest blog posts February through April.
I am getting a lot of calls and emails these days about early morning wakings. I know it is hard, but there is hope!
Here are a few pointers about how to best respond so you can get a bit more shut eye.
First of all, get a sense of how much sleep your baby needs. After 3 months of age, babies need approximately 10-12 hours of sleep at night. So that means if your baby goes to sleep at 7pm, their wake up call will fall between 5-7am. If they are a 10 hour a night sleeper, they may be bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5am.
If you go in and they are happy to see you and appear rested, that 10 hours was all they needed. If they seem tired, snuggly, or otherwise sleepy, it may indicate that they need more sleep than 10 hours. If this is the case here are your options:
Go in and offer a feed and lay baby back in their crib (asleep is fine). That might buy you an extra 30-60 min
Pull baby into bed with you and do a side lie feed or snuggle. This way at least you stay horizontal and (relatively) resting. Many babies sleep a little bit more if cuddled up next to a warm body. If you do this, just be sure that you put a limit on when you pull baby into bed (ie: no earlier than 5am) so that you don't begin to co-sleep earlier and earlier each day.
If your baby is older than 5 months of age and you have used a Cry It Out Method to help them learn to resettle, you can give them up to 30 min of crying to see if they can resettle. It may take 7 days to see if this approach works. If your baby is tired, she/he will resettle and sleep more. If she/he is not tired, then no amount of crying it out will help baby to go back to sleep.
Lastly and importantly... it is essential that you as parents go to bed early as well. This period of time where you are going to bed early is finite and really important so give your body the rest it needs. If you’re struggling, please consider signing up for my All About Naps class on April 16th, from 10-11am at McNear Park through the Petaluma Mothers Club.
Sarah Healy, MA is a mother of two, Certified Infant Sleep Consultant, and parent coach specializing in the transitions that occur in the first year after the birth of a child. She holds a masters in psychology and has devoted 20 years of her career to infant and child development, and family support. Sarah uses an evidence based approach to her sleep classes and draws from a multidimensional approach in understanding the various situations that occur with sleep and families.
For more information about Sarah or additional sleep tips, check out her website or follow her on social media.