Ready to Sleep Better?
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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 welcome to this week’s episode of the kids sleep show. My name is Courtney Zentz. And I am so excited that you are joining me here. And we are talking all about the beautiful babies who are three months old this week, lots of education and information. And I’ll tell you why we’re specifically targeting three months. So first and foremost, the first 12 weeks of a child’s life, they are newborns, you are new parents who are trying to just manage and survive and give that little one everything they need to be growing as they should. The first 12 weeks is when a child’s digestive tract starts to work, they begin to develop a circadian rhythm right around three months of age. And they also start to be able to understand and have awareness of their surroundings. So typically around between three and four months is when I get a lot of phone calls here at tiny transitions. And folks say hey, things were going are right, we were doing good little one was waking once or twice a night. And now all of a sudden, things are in the dumpster again, and we don’t know why they’re not sleeping, they’re not eating, they’re not napping, I’m a mess. What do I do? And how do I fix it. So I want to explain a few things that take place around three to four months of age, what you should expect from your child at this age, and what you should expect in the coming weeks and sometimes coming months because I think that sometimes there are unrealistic expectations that we as parents have on children as to what they biologically have the ability to do. So let’s dive in and chat all about it. If you have a three or four month old you are in the right place, because this episode is specifically for you. And if you’re a new Mama, or a new Papa who has a baby, that is not quite three months of age, this episode is going to be super helpful for you to understand when things potentially shift for you between three and four months, what you can expect and how you can make sure that you don’t get trapped in that dreaded four month sleep regression. So let’s go ahead and dive on in. So the first thing I want to explain is the baby’s ability at three months of age to have a body clock right distinguishing of night and day is something that starts to happen around three months of age prior to that, they really don’t have a body clock, they don’t pre produce or create melatonin until roughly around three months of age, they have the inability to kind of decipher days and nights they’re they’re sort of just sleeping 50% of the time and REM 50% of the time and non REM, the reading about every three hours and you are just trying to get into a groove where they’re growing kind of that fourth trimester, right? So between three and four months of age, they actually shift from two stages of sleep 50% REM 50%, non REM, over to cycle based sleep, right? So what’s kind of those patterns that we all have, even as adults, where you fall asleep, you go through 123451234512345, right? You cycle through those different stages of sleep every single night multiple times versus as a newborn, where you’re either in REM sleep or non REM. And that’s it. There’s no other categorization, right? So around three months of age is when that happens. And oftentimes, it’s when people call me and go, I don’t know what happened, things were going really well. And now they’re waking up every 45 minutes or every 90 minutes. And here’s why they’re hitting that spot in their cycle, right. So whether it’s two in the morning or two in the afternoon, after 45 minutes, they’re waking. And so the reason they’re waking is because now they’re expecting support to go back to sleep. Because often what happens is the first three months of life, right? You’re kind of doing whatever you can to survive. And a lot of times it involves supported sleep, rocking to sleep, nursing to sleep, bouncing to sleep, feeding, to sleep, driving, to sleep, walking to sleep, right? Wearing to sleep, and so baby starts to recognize, well, wait a minute, do I need that to go to sleep? Right? So every 45 minutes in between their cycles, even in the middle of the night. They’re going whoa, wait a minute.
that to go to sleep and I use the word needs specifically because I often tell parents to take a look and assess what’s going on when you hit three months of age. Do they want you or do they need you right want versus need A child at three months of age doesn’t need you to go to sleep. Right? They now want you. So they prefer that you rock them they prefer they’re fed to sleep because that’s how they learned. sleeps a skill set, guys, you have to remember that foundationally how a child learns to sleep is how they perceive they go to sleep. So when you set your child up with the expectation that they’re going to get nurse to sleep or bottle every time they go to sleep or rocked every time they go to sleep, and you try to ninja transfer them over to the crib, guess what happens 45 minutes later, they’re waking up. And they are looking for you because they need you to go back to sleep. Right? So when you are at this point, if you’re kind of taking a step back now and going oh my gosh, like I’ve kind of created a little bit of a monster and take a breath because I’m going to walk you through what happens, how you fix it and kind of what it looks like. And that want versus need is the first thing you know, people say to me, I can’t believe you sleep train babies this age. And I you know, first of all, it’s not sleep training, it’s coaching sleeps a skill, I teach you a skill, I teach you as a baby a skill. And guess what, when you have the skill, you never ever have to sleep train because your child is how to sleep without ever having to write. So this is a beautiful age because at three months you can teach a child still how to settle independently, and never need to sleep train, right? Once you get over four months of age, you’re kind of looking at sleep training versus sleep coaching, right? You know, in this age, sleep coaching, we’re going to coach you can coach your child to become a good sleeper if you set them up for success. So looking at want versus need, should a child still eat at night? Right? That’s
a huge question. When
do I stop beating them? When should they sleep through the night? It’s really a loaded question. And it very much depends, right? It’s a lot around first skill set, right? Do they have the ability to settle themselves if they don’t yet, you need to start working on that. And I often recommend that you start with the first nap of the day, where you put them down in the bassinet or crib awake at the right awake window, which for a three month old should be about an hour and 15 to an hour, 90 minutes. And you allow them to settle independently, maybe offer a little bit of comfort with like a pat or head rub, right. But they ultimately put themselves to sleep in that crib or Pat in the back and play or in the bassinet. They can use a pacifier, I’m not one of those sleep consultants that says you must throw it in the garbage. If a pacifier becomes a sleep Prop, it doesn’t have to go because you’re the mechanism putting it in 700 times at night, right. But if you’re a little unsettled with the pacifier a bedtime, cool, let them have it right. If they in the middle of the night, have it and it falls out and they don’t care. Cool, that’s fine. If it does fall out, honestly, they’ll find their fingers. So don’t stress about that. At this age, they should not be swaddled. So they should have the ability to access those fingers as that mechanism for self soothing, so you don’t have to be the person that puts that pacifier in 4000 times. Okay. So, as I talked about, there’s kind of this hunger side of things like when should a child sleep through the night? When do I know if they’re hungry? Right? The first thing you have to look at is that skill set. If you teach them the skill set, check the box, they have the skill, they can settle for independent, right, they can settle for a nap, they can put themselves down at bedtime. Now, at three months of age, you start looking at hunger, right? How much intake is your child getting in a 24 hour period, children need 24 to 32 ounces of milk in a given 24 hour period for optimal help. Okay? 24 to 32 ounces, breast milk formula doesn’t matter. Its ounces, 24 to 32, okay, and I’m a lactation counselor as well. So there was a big misconception that oh formulas thicker or last longer, whatever. Like, they’re both the same. It’s ounces, 24 to 32 ounces. Okay, the difference with formulas, it’s in a bottle. So you can measure how much milk a child’s getting. I work with a ton of moms who pump or exclusively pump or, you know, maybe they do some pumping, some nursing, some are exclusively nursing, right? Whatever works for your family is fine. If you’re exclusively nursing and you don’t know how much intake your child is transferring. When you go to your next well visit, ask the doctor to do a weighted transfer. So you kind of time it where they’re going to be hungry. When you get there. you weigh them, then you nurse them on both sides, then you weigh them again. And that’s going to give you a rough gauge to say hey, every time I nurse, they’re transferring five ounces. If they’re transferring five ounces for five feedings in the day. They just took 25 ounces in the day right five feedings at five ounces which is totally plausible at three months of age right 25 ounces. That means that at night they’re probably waking only one time i’m actually going through this right now with a client who has a little one who is waking twice do clockwork midnight four o’clock in the morning and at 4am after they would give a give her a bottle for four ounces or him excuse me it’s a little boy After they would give him a four ounce bottle, he would be awake in his bassinet for like two hours, like he’s still hungry, like you’ve fed him enough that you’ve kind of checked the box. But the reason he’s not settling is because he’s still hungry. So, sure enough, I said, you know, we got to get more milk in the day. So you know, if you can add a half an ounce or an ounce to those daytime bottles, that’s going to slowly move the milk away from overnight because he already knows how to settle himself to sleep. Now, we just got to make sure he gets the right amount of milk. So lo and behold, we’re two days in and last night, he dropped the midnight feeding, which was like clockwork for the past three months, right? He did on his own slept a nice solid stretch of I think about seven or eight hours. And then he woke up for a feed, fed five ounces, and then back down till 730
this morning, right. And so what we’re going to slowly do this week now is try to take that five ounces in the middle of the night and move it to four ounces, and then move that ounce we took away to the daytime so that we can get closer by the end of this week, slowly but deliberately to 30 ounces of milk in the day, right? 24 to 32 is the range. So you know, we kind of just know that there’s a solid amount and guess what happens just like that first nap dropped on its own, the second nap drops on its own to in the middle of the second feeding drops on its own as well. So then you have a child who naturally sleeps through the night without needing to sleep train because they know how to do it. And they’re not hungry. Right. And it’s not to oversimplify it. But a lot of this three months is around numbers, right? How much milk are they getting? Do they have the ability to settle? And are they getting the right amount of sleep in the day? You know, I have questions a lot of times from clients like everything’s a dumpster fire the nap suck, which means that bed time sucks, which means the overnight sucks, it all sucks, right and sleep, get sleep and bad sleep creates bad sleep, frankly. So if you’re kind of sitting here listening going, alright, this is making sense, my first thing I need to do is I got to start to figure out how much milk they’re getting. Maybe if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, but they take a bottle, you pump and you do just bottles for 24 hours. That’s something I often suggest to parents who are really unsure but want to sleep. And they want to understand that their child’s getting the right amount, right? If you’re not, and you’re just exclusively nursing, great, do it every three hours during the day for full feedings, both breasts offered, right? If they do take a little top off feeding from a bottle even better, right.
you want to just make sure that you’re creating kind of full feedings every three hours, and that they’re getting that right amount of sleep in the daytime so that they feel good, feel rested. Because if they’re getting the wrong amount of sleep, or it’s timed improperly, or they’re going down too soon, they’re going to wake up at four in the morning for the day, if they’re going to bed at six o’clock at night, right? They’re going to probably have really short naps, which is biologically appropriate, by the way, right. That’s the next thing I kind of want to talk about before I go into like a sample day of a three month old so that you have something to work with. Okay. naps don’t consolidate yet. Okay, yes, your child will sleep for two hours. If you hold them. Yes, they’ll sleep for 90 minutes in the stroller. Yes, they’ll sleep for three hours on the way to grandma’s right. It’s called motion sleep, it’s supported just like that fancy bassinet that costs 1500 bucks, you’re creating a sleep association with motion, guess what motion is not always going to be there. Right. And when it goes away, you have a child who has an association with motion based sleep. So you have to really balance supported sleep, and independent sleep together to make sure your child at three months of age is getting the right amount of sleep at the right time to set themselves up for success. Okay, so what you want to do first is look at the motion based sleep and say, Alright, we know that we’re going to have some naps in the day where I’m going to hold them, walk them, bounce them, whatever, right, we’re gonna go for a drive. And then there’s going to be some where we’ve got to practice that independent settling, right, I always recommend the first nap of the day is where you do that. And then the second nap of the day, you do kind of support it to balance out because you can generally get a little bit of a longer nap in the third nap of the day you do independent and then the fourth nap of the day you do supported so that you can structure the timing to work out so that they’re going to bed at the right time. They’re waking at the right time, they’re getting the right amount of rest in the day. It’s built around feedings every three hours and you set your little one up for success going into having a rock star night. Okay, so you got to look at intake, you got to look at naps. They should not be sleeping independently until between four and five months of age, unsupported for long durations. Okay, that is a totally unrealistic expectation parents have that’s just not accurate. Kids don’t biologically have the ability to consolidate naps yet. At three months of age, they do not somewhere between four and five, it typically starts to show up a little bit sooner if you work with me and you have good sleep hygiene. But it’s a biological thing that happens a little bit differently for every baby, but it’s somewhere between three and four months. Okay? So just to understand that. Now if you’re saying Courtney, this sounds great, but I don’t even know where to Again, everything’s a mess. Where do I start? What does the day look like, right? With a three month old baby? How do I structure this day, to set them up for success to do all the things to get the right sleep to know that I’m setting them up for that first bedtime tonight at the right time? Okay. So the first thing I want to say is have a goal in the daytime, to get about 25 ounces of milk, if you can hit that in the day, which is typically what I kind of refer to as a 7am to 7pm type of day, right? Your goal is 25 ounces. Okay, in that timeframe, you also need to have four to five hours in total naps that day, right, your daytime goal for sleep should be between four and five hours, okay? anything more than that, you’re going to have a kid who’s just frankly, not tired at two o’clock in the morning, because they slept it all off during the day. Okay, so you want to look at that. And then the next thing we’re going to do is we’re going to make sure that your baby is waking up at seven o’clock, I don’t care how their night was, you got to wake them up at seven, you got to start to create that body clock, which over the next couple weeks is begin going to become stronger and stronger and stronger, right. So you want to wake them at seven o’clock when you wake them you feed them, okay? Even if you just fed them at 4am for feeding Stephen, get five ounces, and I’m great. After you’re done feeding sunlight exposure, you need to force their body to go Hey, it’s daytime, right? And you’re going to help that biological thing that’s happening right about now, by exposure to sunlight, sunlight, the best way to teach your body it’s day, and that it’s night, right. So you want to expose them to as much sunlight as you can keep them near the window looking at the birds going for a walk in the yard while you’re holding them anything like that, that you can do to get them that natural sunlight exposure. Okay, your first nap if they will get seven for a three month old is going to be at about 830 in the morning. And so if it’s an unsupportive nap, realistically, it’s going to be about 45 minutes. So you want to put them down around 830 to settle, right? If they have to settle independently, and they’re still learning started 825 so they don’t get overtired, right. And then, once they’re down with a little bit of comfort and support, let them sleep unsupported, right in that bassinet, or crib, and then they’re going to wake up probably about 915. Great, get them up, change them, walk them around little googoo Gaga time, maybe
some tummy time, they’re going to be ready to eat about 10 o’clock, right? So you want to give them nice four or five ounces as you can offer both breasts. Okay, that 1045 guess what you’re doing time to go for a walk, because nap number two is going to be supported. That’s going to help you to get out of the house, get some energy, get some exercise and get a nice solid, some longer supported nap in there. You don’t want to go with the stroller fine. If you’re wearing them. Great. Where am I loved wearing my son. I know the first time I did it, I was a little freaked out but I got used to it that they were okay. And I always made sure you know the positioning was good. But you know, walking outside, however it works to get a supportive nap. And it may be that you just cuddle for 90 minutes, that’s fine, too. Okay, I liked walking because it got me outside and got me some fresh air which was good for my own psyche. Okay, when you get home, you’re going to wake them up at about 1215 from the walk. So your schedule is going to go 1045 to 1215 and 90 minute walk. Okay, 90 minute nap 90 minute walk, they’re going to eat about one o’clock, and you’re going to offer them a nice full two breasts or a nice full five ounces. Okay, 145, we’re going to do our next unsupported nap in the bassinet. Typically, again, that’s going to last about 45 minutes. So they’re going to go down from 145 till about 230 where you’re going to wake them up. If they’re not already up, you’re going to play, okay, and then they’re gonna have a nice five ounce feed somewhere around 345 ish, okay, because at four, they’re going to take another supportive nap, maybe it’s a family walk time. So from four to 530, you’re going to do another supported nap, whether it’s walking, carrying snuggles, grandma maneuver, whatever works for you. And then by waking them up at about 530 from that supported nap, they’re going to be ready for bed at about seven o’clock. So that is your sample of maximizing the right amount of sleep during the day. setting them up for success with intake and structuring a good day to feed into a good night if you can stick to that schedule for a couple days. And really start to assess want versus need. As far as you know, things that are happening in the middle of the night, making sure that you’re tending to hunger. That’s the biggest derailment I find overnight. If you’re like, well I fed them but they just won’t resettle kids typically at this age, sleep, poop and resettle after they eat right? So usually unless there’s obvious discomfort from something like reflux or colic, right, they should eat and pass back out. Okay, so maybe if they’re still kind of up like my client was for a little like two hours, like content but awake, they may still actually be hungry. So I might encourage you also to offer a top of feeding, if you have to, right if you’re nursing on both breasts off for the first breast again, or if you’re you know, doing a four ounce bottle for example, like my client was, I said up to five ounces and see how the impact is on them going back down and lo and behold, first time we did that back down, instead of two hours being awake and laying in that crib or the bassinet, it was literally five ounces slammed it passed back out till 730. So, you know, we kind of quickly alluded to the fact that like, we need to get some more milk into their little body. And obviously, we wanted it to be happening during the day. So that is really a sample day for a three month old. Take it with balance, right? First, you’ve got to watch your weak windows, 90 minutes roughly is the longest you really want to push a three month old, okay, four to five hours of sleep, you need about 24 to 32 ounces of milk in a given 24 hour period. And you want to give yourself some grace, and take a deep breath. Okay, if you need help, you know that I have my facebook group, it’s called slumber Made Simple. I love having parents come out there I do live q&a is every Tuesday I jump in and answer your questions. Right. So if you’re struggling, jump into my group, and I’ll talk to you on Tuesday. There’s so much that I share in that group and really just with you out in this world, because I want to make sure that I set my clients up for sleep success, right? Whether you’re ever a paid client of mine or not, you are someone who I care about parenting is hard, this can be super confusing. So if you start there, you’ll be in good shape. To understand why at three to four months, all of this stuff is starting to happen. And ultimately how you can set your little one up to fix it so that you don’t have a four month sleep regression, right? biologically, there’s just a lot happening between three and four months, you’ve got the leaps, you’ve got the abilities, you got the habits, you got the food, you got all this
stuff, that’s this perfect storm. And if you’re very specific about what you’re doing, and you set yourself up with a sample that I shared with you, you’re gonna see over a couple days, your little one responds really well, and does really well both in naps. And with overnight sleep. They eat better when they’re rested as well. So I always tell clients, that’s a bonus. So many nursing moms reach out to me because I am a lactation counselor as well. And they say I’m afraid to sleep train because I want to protect my supply. And I tell you, the best thing you can do is sleep train. Because every baby I sleep train, mom’s supply goes through the roof because guess what baby’s eating and they’re rested. They’re more efficiently eating right? Mom’s able to pump she isn’t stressed out, she’s sleeping, right. So it’s always this like Miss myth that you know parents have about it. And I just want to encourage you to seek help if you’re struggling or you’re just trying to figure out like, I don’t know, if I’m on the right track or what the hell I’m doing. Then just reach out, you know, come in the Facebook group summer Made Simple. You know, listen to the episodes here, I tried to put together episodes and content that are helpful for you check out my blog. I’m going to share all of this information over there with a sample schedule this week as well. And please just keep me posted. I love if you would take a minute and write a review if you like what you’re hearing on the show. And thanks again for being a part of this amazing sleep community. I hope everyone has a beautiful week. Bye for now. 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 sleep or 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.