Sleep Struggles Solved + Results Guaranteed
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.
Hello, and happy Monday. It is the day after daylight savings here in Philly. And I know lots of tired parents out there wondering what to do. So if you are just catching this episode live today, when it drops, make sure that you join me out in my facebook group called slumber Made Simple, where I test all things daylight savings, as well as help you with your sleep struggles. So today, we are actually going to talk all about really the expectations around when a child should sleep through the night. And I’m going to cover really the top three main things that you need to understand as a parent, as to why are kids not sleeping, I work with a lot of folks, I see a lot of comments, a lot of posts a lot of questions around this topic, because I think the information that’s out there is misleading. I think that we have a lot of different sources of content, right things are coming to us from social media, from our friends from our parents, right about how they did all the things to make their little ones sleep or that you’re just supposed to suck it up for 18 years, because your kid won’t sleep. And I actually had a pediatrician tell somebody last week that because they didn’t work with their child to sleep, train them early in life. You know, the baby was about 12 months of age at this point and still waking and the pediatrician said, You know what, that’s too bad. And they’re just going to have terrible sleep for the next several years, you just have to deal with it, which is absolutely false. And probably the worst advice I’ve heard from a pediatrician as it relates to sleep. So we’re breaking down all of the myths today around when your child should be able to sleep through the night. And if they can’t sleep through the night, because they still do need to eat which we’ll talk about how you’re supposed to go about balancing, whether awaking is truly for hunger, or whether it is something that has turned into a habit and how you break that from happening. So the first thing I want to talk about really is the age and sleep requirements for children. Right. So the American Academy of sleep medicine says that kids from four months through 12 months of age, should sleep anywhere between 12 and 16 hours for optimal health. Now that’s a big range. It’s a big range in total sleep. It’s also a big range in age. So obviously children that are on the lower end of that around four or five months, they should be getting still probably somewhere around that 15 to 16 hours of sleep. And then as they move towards their first birthday, it’s gonna dial back a little bit, probably more so around 11 to 12 hours overnight, and then somewhere around three hours in the day. So the first thing you want to look at is making sure that you structure your child’s daytime, to lead them for sleep success overnight. Sometimes kids are waking because they’re frankly chronically overtired. I’m working with somebody right now, who did an Ask me anything call with me, which is really just, you know, what, an hour long strategy session and we talk through where their struggles are, and then I tell them how to fix it. And what we did was we actually broke it into three sessions. So we did 30 minutes where I gave the information. We talked about what she needed to do. And then we’ve got two scheduled follow up calls, kind of on the books for this week. And we had our first one this morning, and then one later at the end of this week or next week, depending on how the naps are progressing. But regardless, there were some issues with daycare, right? And she’s like, no matter what daycare basically won’t help in supporting of the naps as far as like the right timing that I asked for. It’s sort of a do whatever, I can type a thing there. And you know, every day care, frankly, is going to be different. My kids were daycare kids for the first four years of their life. And every day would pick them up and hope to hell that they took a little bit of some aspect of sleep at certain points and still balanced. You know, if they fell asleep on the way home, right that they would go down appropriately, which they always did, and sleep through the night, right? Because that was my end goal was that consolidated, uninterrupted sleep because it was best for them, their brains are consolidating. I like to say, you know, during the day they’re recording, and at night, they’re editing. So you really want that sleep to be independent and consolidated. And the daytime balance is going to be the first part of that, right. So you have to make sure you’re structuring the naps in the daytime appropriately. And then when you move into bedtime and overnight, you know that question or that thing that most parents Google, right or asking the parent Facebook groups is when will my baby sleep through the night? Depends, right? First, every kid has the ability barring a medical condition that is non neurotypical per se right? So basically, every child has the ability to sleep, right? That we’re all born with that ability. How you teach a child to sleep is the part where things can start to derail. Okay. And I like to use the analogy of screwdrivers, not the drink, though, I’m sure we could all use one after a year in quarantine, I’m talking about the tool, right? When kids learn how to sleep. And they are using you or some mechanism of you, right? Whether it’s nursing, or bottles or bouncing or driving or rocking or wearing right to sleep, you’re basically a flathead screwdriver, right? And you’re using a flathead screwdriver on a Phillips head screw, right. So if you don’t know what those are, Google them. And you’ll understand my point, a flathead screwdriver works very efficiently on a Phillips head screw, right. But it’s not the most efficient. So children kind of learn this tool, and the tool works and it achieved sleep. The problem is, it’s not ideal, right? When all of a sudden you teach your child that they actually have a Phillips head screwdriver. And they can do it much easier, much more efficiently. And without your support. Frankly, they prefer that too, because it’s easier for them. They don’t want to wake up feeling like a dumpster fire, right? And neither do you. But they don’t even recognize that they have the tool. Okay. So the first comes really down to the the tool that they’re using, okay, and understanding what the mechanism is that they have to go to sleep, you’re born with a blank slate, right. And that blank slate is something that you kind of edge over the first couple months of a child’s life. You know, for some parents, frankly, you just don’t know, it’s like, the only way they’re going to nap is if I rock them. So I rock them. And the only way they nap at night and sleep consolidated is if I rock them, or give them the pacifier or feed them six times, right? And those become a mechanism. So as a parent, you have to look back at yourself, right? kind of do a little bit of an a self assessment here and go, does my child want this? Or do they need it. And we’ll talk about food in a second, right. But for anything else, right? If you’re going in, and you’re putting the pacifier in their mouth five times at night, throw the pacifier in the garbage right now, it is causing you nothing but headaches, your child will forget about it in one day, I promise, right? If you’re rocking them to sleep, you got to stop rocking. And that means either give it up cold turkey, or slow down the rocking to stillness where you’re still holding, and then work on getting them into that sleep space where you’re offering some comfort and support, maybe a little bit of rocking, but while they’re in the crib, for example, that you wean away from, right. It’s about balancing a want versus a need. So I want you to assess what’s happening right now in your home in the overnights, right, your babies over six months of age, for sure they can sleep through the night.
Frankly, I work with kids at three months that parents call me and say get them to sleep through the night. And they do. It’s a balance about food as well as the independent skill set, which we’ll talk about in a minute. But essentially, at six months, I would tell you, you have habits. So if your babies over six months, and still waking overnight, you have habits, they’re not teething perpetually for the next 12 months. They are not still hungry.
Now, yes, they may beeating several times at night. But it’s a habit based eating versus a hunger based eating. And I’ll explain that in just a minute. But you have to look at kind of taking a step back. And as these wakings are occurring going, Okay, do they want me? Or do they need me if a child poops their diaper, change them. Nobody wants blame poop all night, the baby’s hungry, feed them, you should feed them if they’re hungry, you should feed them. You should not use food as the mechanism to go back to sleep. See there’s a difference, right? And so you have to look at building the independent skill set. And it’s consistency. And frankly, that’s the hardest part for parents. Because you try this thing. And then you try that thing. And then you try this method and this method and then that method and then your friend tells you about this method and is it cried out, I don’t want to cry it out. I’m not sure what to do. My husband told me to go getter. My husband told me to stay out. My wife told me to stay and my husband told me stay in my wife told me saying stay out. There’s so much happening that every time your baby wakes, they’re going What am I going to get this time my gonna get picked up, rocked, held, touched, shush fed, they don’t know. So they’re sort of sitting out there going, what are you going to give me and they get upset until they get it? Okay? consistency with a plan is the number one thing you can do for your child. They have to understand what your expectations are. If they don’t understand the expectations, they’re never gonna know what to do. Right? If it’s just super confusing for them. Every time they wake, they’re kind of waiting on something and they don’t know what to expect. Well, this time I get fed and this time I get rocked and this time I get picked up and this time I don’t. They’re going to be confused, right? Just like anybody. So setting a clear foundation of expectations and doing a self assessment with your own To go, Okay, are you waking because you want this or need this. If they’re pooping every night at three o’clock in the morning and it’s waking them up, I would probably advise throwing out some prune juice somewhere into their day, around lunchtime and flush the boob out. All you’re really doing is changing the poop cycle, right? So the poop stops happening at 3am. And now happens at 7am. Right? Or better yet, they poop before bed that night that you gave him the prune juice, right? And then the next poop doesn’t happen till sometime within the next day, you see things like that where you can kind of process manage fixing it without a big deal? Great. It’s where you start to get into the hunger question that I find most parents get stuck? Well, Courtney, they’re over six months of age. And they’re still eating three times at night and each bottles five ounces. So what do I do because they’re slamming it? Well, they’re slamming it because they’re getting 50% of their intake overnight, they are hungry, but they’re eating as the mechanism to fall back to sleep. So the first thing you need to do is if your child’s over six months of age, you need to pull back on those feedings every night that you can pull some of the ounces away, whether you shorten the duration of the nursing session, or you lessen the intake of the milk by like, you know, an ounce each night, every single time you do that more milk is gonna end up in the kitty in the daytime, right? Kids only eat when they’re hungry, they’re not gonna be hungry if they’re eating all their intake overnight. Okay, so you’ve got to move that milk into the daytime hours and do that over the course of a couple days. And then if your child is under six months of age, you have to assess Do they still need to eat? Right? And if the answer is yes, that’s fine. Set yourself up with the appropriate structure and schedule in which to feed them, right. So if your child goes to bed at seven, okay, and they’re three months of age, they may still be hungry at like midnight, right? So when they wake at midnight, you feed them. But if you put them to bed at seven, and they wake at 930 to eat, that’s a habit based waking where they’re eating right, a child at that age for three months, shouldn’t be waking still every three hours. Typically, if they are getting full feedings properly spaced at every three hours throughout the day. It’s a numbers game folks with milk. Okay, it’s a numbers game, breast milk formula. The biggest myths I hear on all this, they’re all the same milk is milk doesn’t matter if it comes from your breast or formula. Okay, one is in thicker one doesn’t take longer to go away one isn’t going to help your baby to sleep better. It is ounce per ounce, right? If your child can get 24 to 32 ounces in the day, they no longer need to eat at night. Okay, now some kids may be on the higher end, so they eat 24 and still wake wants to eat overnight fine. Some kids eat 24 and sleep through the night. It’s an every baby is different. But you’ve got to look at it as a numbers game and figure out okay, I got to move some dominoes around here. Because we’re getting 15 ounces overnight. And it’s derailing our overnight sleep because they are hungry, but we need to move the milk, you see. So with your feeds, you can feed a child in the middle of the night. And when you do you just have to have a different setup and response. Right? If the first time your baby should be eating overnight, you know, just based on age and kind of, hey, this one really is hunger, like, hey, they go to bed at seven a week at 2am. And they’re four months old. And you can hear the cries a little different. Dude, get up and go right to them. The second you hear them that creates differentiation, right? You’re not waiting 10 minutes, then picking them up and put them back down and they cry, then you feed them. Because again, confusion. Well, I just cried for 10 minutes, got picked up and eventually got fed, all you’re teaching them is to do that till they get that. Right. When you know you’re going to feed, you wake up, you go immediately to them, you feed them, but they’re still awake. And you lay them back down after they burb awake in the crib, right? That’s the difference. Food at that point is nutrition. It’s not the mechanism to fall back to sleep. Okay. And so with that consistency, where for any waking overnight, you respond consistently, whether you’re doing more of an interval based check in type of sleep training, or more of an in the room coaching where you’re gradually weaning out of there. Those are the two most popular forms of sleep training, you have to be consistent in what you’re doing and sleeps complex, frankly. I mean, that’s why I consult with families for a minimum of three weeks because it there’s a lot that goes into this. It’s not just oh, let’s try this and do this. You know, that does work for some families that can be consistent, but some need accountability around it because it’s confusing. Are they hungry? Is this a habit? What should I do? Right? And that’s obviously what I do in my private coaching. But you have to understand, first your child’s age and sleep needs. Second, what their intake needs are and where they’re getting the milk, if you’re unsure, do a whole day of pumping, and figure out exactly how much intake they’re getting in the day. Right? And then if they’re bottle fed measure it, how much are they getting? Oh crap, they’re only getting 20 ounces today. That’s why they’re waiting three times. I gotta slowly try to get some more milk in the day. Maybe it’s just adding a half an ounce to each bottle, right? And slowly working on that, while you’re still balancing the right amount of sleep at the right times throughout the day. And then assessment of your habits, right? Don’t go in and do all the things that are the support or the mechanism back to sleep, that’s your problem. You’re the crotch, you’ve got to wean off that crutch, right? Because ultimately, your child’s skill set has to sharpen, and so does their independence, once they understand they have the right tool in the tool belt. That’s going to be the one they go after. Right? So when you look at, you know, why isn’t my child sleeping through the night, assess first their age, if they’re over six months, you have habits, okay? So you got to work on the habits, you got to figure out what the habit is, what you’re doing is the mechanism to sleep and you got to pull that stuff out of there. Okay, there under six months, you got to assess intake, because that’s usually the number one factor, right intake followed by kind of bad habits that are coming off of the dial just moving from being an infant, right, and into being a more awake, alert and aware infant after they pass that three month mark. Okay. And then again, you have to assess their total daytime sleep and their right wake windows. That’s a common thing parents mess up in the day. There’s a lot of apps out there that frankly, give awake windows that I don’t agree with. I don’t know where they get them because they’re relatively larger apps. But even some of my girlfriends and I who do this for a career, you know, we chat back and forth on WhatsApp, like where do these numbers come from, that these apps are using because they’re grossly inaccurate. So just use some balance when it comes to, you know, the awake windows come out to my slumber Made Simple Facebook group, I’ve got a lot of downloads out there with the right week windows and such, check out my blogs, because if you’re doing things wrong, and your child’s chronically overtired, they’re going to have terrible sleep, they’re going to be up early in the morning hours, and they’re going to have awful naps. So definitely a bit of balance with all of these things. And remember, I do private coaching, I do ask me anything calls, I do the slumber Made Simple Facebook group. And I have a newer program called the sleep coach on call, which is a program that is a group program. It’s a group based platform where you still get the written sleep program and all of the videos that go with the entire program. It’s actually more heavily video based teaching versus the program. But I do like to have that written option out there. And that’s something right now that is amazing, because you still get access to me just in a group capacity with answering your questions through your whole sleep coaching process. And I’m with you for a whole year, which is awesome. So definitely, you know, check out one of those three options if you’re looking for support and just don’t know how to go about it. We’re always here to support you. I have a beautiful team of consultants as well around the country that work with clients both in home and virtually. We’re just here to get you sleep. My whole goal as someone in this profession is to support families in a way that no other sleep consultant does. And I do a really good job with that. So you know whether you’re joining me out in slumber Made Simple or whether you decide you want to move forward and book a call because you’re just exhausted and ready to get started on some sleep. Please know that I am here. My team is here and we look absolutely forward to engaging and connecting with you as we know sleep can be complex. And we certainly want to be your consultant of choice for help. So thanks again for listening. I hope everybody has a beautiful week and is starting to enjoy some lovely sunshine wherever you are.
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 together 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 transition stuff comm forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search lumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.