Ready to Sleep Better?
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Come back to the kids sleep show. I am so excited you are here. My name is Courtney Zentz. I am the founder of tiny transitions. And I am based here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, chatting with all of you around the world around the business of sleep in your family, because it’s a super important one, especially right now. So we are talking this week around when feedings should stop overnight, the million dollar question right? When will my baby sleep through the night? And my answer for you is it depends, right? So we’re gonna chat all about that. And foundationally set some expectations for those of you that are new parents that are just trying to navigate this crazy world. And for those of you that may have been added for a few weeks and are starting to figure things out, feel a little more human and are now starting to wonder when that little one is going to go through the night. Okay. So I think first and foremost, the word sleeping through the night is a different word for every person that you ask, right? Some people characterize sleeping through the night as four to six hours. Some people characterize it as 12 hours, some people characterize it as eight hours. I typically look at things on a 12 hour day, 12 hour night basis, but we’re going to talk about when feedings should subside and how appropriate it is to do it at certain ages. Okay, foundationally, your child needs a specific amount of milk in the day to really grow and feel at their best. Now I am also a lactation counselor, in addition to being a sleep specialist, and I have my postpartum doula certification as well. So I bring a good background in this from the standpoint of milk lactation, and a child sleep needs, whether they are fed formula or breast milk. Okay, first and foremost, a child needs 24 to 32 ounces of milk in a given 24 hour period. Okay, so I don’t care if they take formula, I don’t care if they drink breast milk, it’s the same number 24 to 32 ounces is the range that a child needs in a 24 hour period. Okay, now, for those of you that are bottle feeding, whether it’s breast or formula, you can track that and you can start to see how much milk your little one is taking during the day, and frankly, how much milk they’re taking through the night. So you can really start to understand what it looks like how much sleep they’re getting, and how much milk they’re getting balanced throughout the day and night, right? Pretty obvious, you look at the number of ounces or milliliters that they take, you add that all up at the end of the day, and you kind of see, okay, they were within that normal range to be growing appropriately on the growth curve. Now, when a baby is nursing, the hardest part is knowing exactly how much they’re transferring. So unless you’re like me, who had a scale at my house and weighed my baby every single time they ate, so I knew what they were transferring, most people don’t know. And it’s not exactly the current climate where parents are going to willingly take a newborn to a hospital, to attend a lactation course or to go see a lactation consultant, because they don’t want to be anywhere near the hospital with the COVID-19 epidemic. So totally understandable. The best thing I would say, is to start looking at making sure your baby is taking full feeds every three hours. Okay, by doing that, you’re setting them up to get the right amount of intake in the day, or I should say the maximum amount of intake in the day. Okay. And so what I mean by that is, if you want your child to sleep through the night, they need 24 to 32 ounces. Okay, does that mean if they get 24? They’re going to sleep through the night? Not necessarily. It just means that they’re in normal range. And I’ll talk about that, right? Does it mean if they get 32? They’re going to sleep through the night? Well, not necessarily because they may have some habits outside of eating that are causing them to still wake 55 times a night, right?
So when we try to
break this down, the first thing that you need to look at is their intake, right? What is the intake that they’re getting, and if you’re nursing and you’re not sure and you want to understand what it looks like, and you’re pumping, I will tell you, hey, just take one day and just pump and bottle feed just to see the intake, right. That’ll help you to know typically
much you pump is kind of roughly how much you’re transferring. It’ll give you a good idea if you have any supply dips during the day where maybe you need to add in an hour. Let down or an extra pumping session somewhere, it really just tends to lead to good understanding of, you know, your milk supply. Okay? So during the day, you’re going to do nice, full feedings every three hours. Okay? Now, obviously, if your baby’s hungry, you’re going to feed them sooner, okay? But I’m talking about guidelines traditionally outside of the newborn phase of like zero to three months, okay? So when I look at days, I look at 12 hours a day, 12 hours a night. So the first thing you want to start with is saying, Okay, I’m going to wake my baby up today at 7am, they’re going to eat. So now, they’re going to eat at seven o’clock, 10 o’clock, one o’clock, four o’clock, and seven o’clock, okay? Those are your five feedings during the day. Okay, now let’s assume that baby is taking four ounces at a feeding right, just to keep the math simple. They just took 20 ounces of milk in the day. Now if they’re like three months old, that’s totally normal, right? They take 20 ounces in the day. And maybe you guys are still doing a dream feeding, maybe they’re waking once or twice at night to eat. That makes sense, right? If they only get 20 ounces in the day, they need to make up at least four more at night, sometimes eight, right? If they take two feedings in the middle of the night. Okay, that makes sense, and is totally appropriate. Now that can be a baby that’s three months old, it can also be a baby that six month old because it depends on the intake and the habits, right, I have a three month old little one that I am working with right now from a private coaching standpoint, they are 18 pounds, they are a tank, they drink a lot of milk every day mom is exclusively bottle feeding. And at three months, the little one is sleeping basically 12 hours a night, every other night or so they are still waking to feed, but we’re kind of letting the baby decide if they’re hungry. They’re going to eat if they’re not they sleep through and it’s kind of baby’s decision, right? Baby does really well during the day gets the total intake that they need. They’re at 32 ounces in the day. So technically, the baby’s fine goes to bed, he sometimes I said wakes up once sometimes he sleeps through the night for 12 hours, he’s three months old. Okay, I have another client who has a six month old, that is not sleeping through the night, but they are not sure of the total intake. Okay. So as the result of that, the challenge is that if you don’t know how much they’re getting, I can’t tell you for certain in my profession, whether or not they’re actually hungry, right. So if a child is actually hungry, they could very well be at six months if they’re not getting the right amount of intake during the day. And the challenge with this is usually around nursing, because again, you don’t know how much they’re transferring. So that’s where when you say like, well, when should my baby’s sleep through the night? It’s actually kind of complex, because it depends right when they get the milk they need. Now, if you have a child who has developed other habits, right, so let’s assume feeding in the middle of the night is still happening. But you know, you think you’re pretty close to getting rid of that. However, they’re still waiting like four or five times a night, they’re only feeding once and you’re like, I don’t know what to do with this. Like, why don’t they just sleep right? It’s usually because they have some sort of other prop or reliance, they’re looking for you to rock them, they’re looking for you to bounce them, they’re looking for you to swing them, they’re looking for you to hold them, they’re looking for you to put the pacifier in 75 times a night, it really depends on your little one. And what they’re looking for, right. So if they have another habit or a prop, or really what I call like, when you think of it like something to sleep, right, they need insert whatever it is to sleep, if they’re relying on something to sleep, aside from feeding, right, you have to get rid of those things to get rid of those other wakings. Right? sleeps a skill set. So foundationally kids are going to sleep through the night first, when they’re fed. Second, when they have the right skills to do it. Right. If the only way your child has ever fallen asleep is rocking. At four months of age, they’re not going to magically go Whoo,
eating enough milk. I’m gonna sleep through the night now if they’ve been rocked every single time they fall asleep because they just don’t know how.
Right as a skill set, you have to teach them that they have the capability to actually do it right sleeps a skill. How do you teach a child to learn to fall asleep is what they believe they need to go to sleep and I always give this example. It’s kind of a stupid one. But I think it’ll resonate a little bit more with you because there is some aspect of just we do what we do because we’ve always done it that way. Right? So a great example is my husband and I you know, we got married and we moved into this house and you know he’s always grown up taking the garbage out, you know, through the garage, right and I grew up taking it out through the side door just the way our houses were
Well even moving into our own new house. He still takes the garbage out through the garage. I still take it out through the hallway, right? It was just the way I always grew up. That was like our thing like you took it out through the The door right? Like I didn’t go through the garage and through the door, we didn’t have a garage, right? So for me, like the muscle memory that I developed over the 40 years together on this earth has me taking the garbage out that way. And one day, my husband was like, why are you doing that, like, just take it out through the garage, the garbage cans are in the garage, like you’re walking outside to go back into the garage. That’s stupid, right? And I was like, You know what, I never really thought about it. But you’re right. And so you know, it makes more
I just kind of went off that muscle memory where I was going to just open the garage door, stepped in there and threw it in the garbage can, but I never did. Because I you know, again, I just always went out through the side door. So now I do go through the garage. But it was muscle memory where, you know, I didn’t think much of it. And that was just the way I learned. So I kind of always did it. Kids are the same way. Again, I told you, it was kind of a silly example.
it’s muscle memory, right? how they’ve learned to sleep, are those things that you need to unteach them basically to help them understand that they actually possess the ability to do it. Kids are amazing little humans, right? They’re very smart if we actually give them the opportunity to realize that they have the skill, right. And so whether your child is three or four months right now, and you’re trying to figure out like, Okay, I need to get some sleep, I’m going back to work, I can’t function like this. Our day is total chaos, right? Like any of the reasons that you’re listening to this podcast, and particularly these this episode are probably that your little one is not sleeping through the night. So the first thing I would do is start with understanding their intake, because they’re variables, right, you can get rid of the variables and figure out what the root causes as to why they’re still waking, right? Food is a given if they get the milk in the day, they don’t need it at night, right? Again, volume, I’m not saying you force feed an eight week old 32 ounces of milk so that they sleep through the night, they should appropriately be waking in the middle of the night. So
want to put that out there, there are certain newborns that still need appropriately to eat in the middle of the night. And that makes sense. But when you wake up to feed them, you put them back down awake, right? So you wake them up, or they wake, you feed them, you put them back down awake, right, and they go back to sleep totally good. And you’re building great habits, right. So that’s the part with this where I just wanted to clarify because I didn’t mention that. And I know somebody else sent me some nasty email. But start with intake, right? eliminate the variables, then look at what you’re doing, look at the sleep environment, make sure that that sleep environment is conducive. Make sure there’s no TV on, make sure there’s no blue lights, make sure all the lights are covered in the room, make sure there’s no night lights, make sure there’s no mobile that’s dancing on the ceiling, right? All those things are stimulants. So make sure your little one is set up with a really good environment, right. So if they’re eating well, there’s no bad habits. Their environment is set up good. They’re going to sleep well through the night assuming that their naps are structured properly. And that brings me to my final point, right? The feedings and such are important but so is avoiding overtired, making sure that your little ones day is structured and set up for success around wet when you’re avoiding overtired. Right, making sure your nap schedule is aligned, making sure they have the right schedule. If you do not know what type of schedule your child should be on, go out to my website, it’s tiny transitions.com there is tiny transitions.com forward slash tools. Okay, I’ll say that, again, tiny transitions.com forward slash tools. And there was a whole page of different downloads, there’s a sample schedule generator, seven tips, there’s an baby sleep needs chart. I mean, I got all kinds of stuff out there, access to my Facebook group where I do weekly live q&a. So all that good stuff is out there. That’s going to help you to structure your day to also ensure that your little one is not overtired, because that can cause multiple night wakings as well. So now what do you do? Now you’ve got this baby who you know is eating during the day, but is used to eating at night and you’ve got to move some of that milk to get it happening in the daytime, right? If they’re taking like three feedings at night. Okay, and each feeding is four ounces, they just took almost half their daily intake in the overnight hours, right? What you have to do is start moving the milk. So what it may mean is that you start to cap the nursing sessions if you’re nursing, right? So you normally nurse on both breasts, see if they’d be willing again, depending on the age, right? Usually, I would say somewhere after six months, this is appropriate, right? Because typically by then the heat the eating has turned into a habit is cut the nursing session in half, right? So instead of offering both breasts offer one, if you only offer one breast cut the time, if you’re offering bottles start to lessen the amount each night by like an ounce, right? So if baby takes four ounce bottle, give them a three ounce bottle, okay? And do that three times a night. Now instead of getting 12 ounces, they’re getting nine. Okay? And then maybe you cut from three bottles, two, two, right? So you’re slowly moving that milk to the daytime over the course of a couple days. You see because when they don’t get it in the middle of the night, they’re going to wake up hungrier because they didn’t have breakfast and lunch. In the middle of the night, and then they’re going to start that next day out, more eager to eat,
if that makes sense, right. So that’s kind of, you know, some of the things that you can start to do around moving the milk to make sure that they’re getting the right intake, right. I am a huge proponent as every parent should be a feeding your child when they are hungry. These little ones are not robots, okay? Your child may have an off day, a gassy day, they just may not feel so good kinda day and they don’t feel like eating. And that night, it may mean that they need to eat, and they should eat, right? There’s a difference between a baby needing to eat and a baby wanting to eat for comfort, not food, right? nutrition. Okay, what is a comfort based things so they could fall back to sleep, typically using you or the bottle as a pacifier. The other is the fact that a child’s actually hungry. we as parents, our job is to make sure that they are not. Okay, I know that teeters a fine line. And I know it can be hard sometimes to tell. In my general rule of thumb, I will say that babies over six months of age are typically eating out of habit, not hunger. Now, that’s not to say they’re not hungry. Hell, if my husband came upstairs with a chocolate chip cookie at three in the morning, I would eat it right doesn’t mean I need it, it means that I you know, I’ll take it if you’re throwing it out there. So it may just be where you have to more thoughtfully move that milk to the daytime to try to get them off of it. And then break those habits that they have where they’re using, you know, that food as a mechanism to fall back to sleep. Okay, so that was a very long winded explanation as to when your little one should sleep through the night because it is a very complex answer kind of depends, right? You’re doing awesome. Parenting is really hard. And I think that as parents, we need to support each other. I think that you need to join me out in my facebook group called slumber made simple so that we can chat a little bit more about what this looks like for your little one. Every week I do live q&a is I’m always doing trainings and all kinds of stuff. I am a giver. I’m a giver of information. I’m a giver of my knowledge, I’m a giver of way more stuff than any other sleep consultant is going to give you because if I can help you solve your sleep struggles, frankly, with a little bit of help. That is beautiful, right and if at some point you decide that you need support, you need private coaching myself and my awesome team are always here to help you through that. So with that, I hope you have enjoyed this episode. I hope it gives you some action items to take a look at what’s happening in your day, monitor what’s going on overnight and make a plan to figure out how to ensure your little one is fed rested, and in allowing you to get some rest as well. Until next time Sweet dreams. Thanks so much for tuning in. Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.