S2E3: Amanda Answers feat. Tasha: "Is THIS a Sleep Association?" | Baby's Best Sleep
Listening to all of our incredible guests is great, but sometimes you just need the raw, real-life advice – and that’s exactly what this episode is! Amanda chats to listener Tasha about her sleep situation and gives her real, actionable advice to help her little one get to sleep!
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Hey everybody, welcome to another edition of slumber party. I invite you to my slumber party, except unlike the ones you attended in the 90s. This one actually includes sleep for you, your children, and the entire family. Every week I have any unique guests or I answer a fun question about sleep to get you in your family, the sleep that you need. Today, I spoke with Tasha, who is the first in my series called Amanda Answers. I asked you guys to send me all of your questions on email or Instagram, but it’s really hard for me to keep track and to be honest, I like talking to people. Me talking to you by myself is boring. So, I would really like to just interact with people, and so I put a call out on my Instagram. If you’re not following me on Instagram, you should be: @babysbestsleep, and I put out a call and the best question each week will get a chance to talk to me free on my podcast, and get their question answered. So Tasha messaged me right before the deadline, She had a great question about whether or not her son taking a bottle before bed was a sleep association. So in this episode we dig deep. I answered the question for Tasha and hopefully for the rest of you to determine whether or not your child has a sleep association. This is a judgment free zone. All types of sleep are encouraged. So put on your headphones, walk around for the duration of a crap nap and just enjoy yourself.
Okay. Hi Tasha, are you there?
I am. Thank you for having me.
Thank you for messaging me, on Instagram at 11 o’clock with a really good question.
I know, I was like, like I’m going through something. I should send her a message.
Absolutely. I mean why not? It’s a win win, right? I get some podcast content and you get to talk to a sleep consultant and not pay any money for it. So I think it, I think it’s a good thing for every party.
Yes, yes. We were just at the beginning of this problem. So I’m like, is this an issue? Ae we going through something? What’s happening? Let’s be proactive about it.
Awesome. Okay, well why don’t you share your question. Let me know what’s going on.
Okay. So, since we dropped formula around 11/12 months, um, my son started waking early in the morning. He wakes anywhere from like five to six 36 30 is our cutoff time when we’ll go in there. But um, we give him a bottle at that time and he sleeps till 7:30am/8am. Most kids usually wake up around that time and I’d be fine with that. It’s just he never seems fully rested and, and very cranky, and I don’t know where along our journey where this happened, but we went in and gave him a bottle and it worked and we’ve just continued to do it. So every other night he’ll wake, sometimes he sleeps straight till 7:30am/8am, and sometimes he’ll wake up and be really upset. And so we go in and give him a bottle. It’s just doesn’t seem, it doesn’t seem good that he’s waking up. I feel like I’d just like him to have a straight sleep session instead of waking and I don’t know if we’re creating a problem by giving him a bottle. But we’re weaning him off right now and hopefully by the end of the month we’ll be not using a bottle altogether. I’m just wondering now like what will happen after that?
Okay. So a few questions on my end for you. How old is baby right now and how much does he weigh?
He weighs 24 pounds and he is 12 months.
Okay, cool. So you were saying that you were weaning off formula. Does that mean you’re replacing it with milk during the day?
Well, no. Okay. So we stopped using formula altogether around 11 months.
Okay.
And we replaced it with almond milk.
Okay. Okay. So almond milk and then he, and he’s having that in replacement of the formula during the day?
Not really. We only give him two bottles. He eats a lot. I don’t feel like we need to give him more and our doctor agreed.
Okay, perfect. And so his solid consumption is good.
Oh yeah. Big time.
Great. That’s awesome. Okay, so then the bottles are just in the morning and just at night, how is he falling asleep during the day?
So at map I’d take him to his room. We do quiet time. I give him about four ounces of almond milk, two ounces of which are our water.
Is that in a sippy or in a bottle?
No, in a bottle.
Awesome.
I find that the bottle helps relax him. But he never falls asleep on the bottle. He’s wide awake after the feeding and um, he looks to the crib to be put down sometimes her play for a couple of minutes and then put himself down or he’ll just roll over and go to sleep himself. So he’s not falling asleep on the bottle.
Perfect. Okay. Okay. He’s not falling asleep on the bottle, but you would see the bottle happens and then he’s in the bed within five or 10 minutes of the bottle?
Yeah.
Okay. And so that’s for both nap time and it’s also for bedtime?
Yeah, we do the exact same routine, exact same thing.
Okay. So , your initial question last night on Instagram was, look, is this a, is this a thing he needs? Is this bad or good? Um, and so what I wanted to do during this call is kind of like do a deep dive into a few things because there are a few things that we need to consider in answering the question, is this a asleep association or not? And I really wanted to tackle your question because this is such a common, this is where things can get tricky for people. And it’s a common question. It’s also I think a hard question for me to answer it sometimes for a few reasons. So I think that, you know, when people talk about sleep associations, a sleep association is when a child needs something to fall asleep. Now sometimes that’s okay with the parent, what they need, right? Like if I, my kids suck their thumbs, if I took away their thumbs, they’d be really pissed off. That’s definitely a sleep association. But for me, it doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect my life. And I don’t really care if they suck their thumbs or not, totally happy to pay for braces later on. I’ve had some difference of opinions with some speech pathologists about this, but so far my kids can speak fine, so I’m not super worried. As always talk to your doctor. Disclaimer. Disclaimer. But okay, so you know, going back to this, there are people who you know, breastfeed their child’s asleep or give a bottle before sleep and they don’t really mind or care. Right? Or there are instances where it sounds like for you, like he’s a year, you’ve been doing this for a really long time and there’s been no issue. Right? So for a really long time he slept pretty well. He goes to sleep, he naps well, he falls asleep easily to most of the night, and then you give him a bottle, he sleeps three more hours. Right. So all of that is not the end of the world. So, you know, I hate, I am not going to be that sleep consultant that’s like, “don’t ever do this. Don’t do it. This is a bad thing,” right? Because is it bad or good? I don’t know. You tell me because there are lots and lots of people who don’t care about these things, who are like, I don’t care to get up at four o’clock in the morning and give a bottle every day. Um, it’s really up to you. So I guess, does that make sense? That answers so far. I’m going to follow it up with some.
It doesn’t disrupt our sleep either because we’re both super early risers. So getting up at that time and starting our day, it’s what kind of what we do. Yeah, it’s just that I want to cut this bottle out before 18 months and hopefully by the end of this month. And it also kind of puts us in a position where if anyone takes him for the night, what will happen over there? I just want a straight transition, if we take the bottle out, what’s going to happen at four in the morning, five in the morning. If you’re gonna scream bloody murder.
Yeah.
And not get a proper sleep. Will this change in a couple of days or I don’t know.
Well see, this is, you’ve done a beautiful transition for me. Are you, are you in, do you speak for a living, Natasha?
No, I don’t, no.
It was just such a wonderful transition. You’d think that we planned this. So, so that was going to be my next point that, you know, if you’re, if you’re comfortable with these situations, it doesn’t honestly sound like you’re in the shit to be honest and it’s fine. However, at some point it might be a problem for you. So, and you’ve given me all of the reasons why it may be a problem for you. For some babies and a lot of children, these parents will never hire me because again, it’s not a problem for them and the problem works itself out. But I do know of like people and friends and stories, you know, you always hear about that client or person who is like, “Oh, I co-slept with my child until they were three. And then one day they didn’t want to anymore and they just went into their own bed.” Like, that’s great, but that’s not going to be the situation for a lot of people. So I suspect from what you’re telling me, what’s your, what’s your little guy’s name, if you’re comfortable sharing or his first initial?
Hudson.
Hudson. Okay. So it sounds like Hudson, this is a really tricky thing for a lot of clients is this feeding before bed because for a lot of, a lot of my clients, it’s like they’re not feeding their child to sleep. They’re awake. But this is where it gets tricky. When you look into the actual science of sleep the first part of sleep is actually not sleep or it doesn’t appear that we are asleep at all. So, that’s called light sleep. It’s stage one of sleep. There are a couple of examples of this in real life. If you’re, if you ever kind of like doze on your couch watching TV and then someone kinda hits you and you’re like, “what? What? I wasn’t sleeping.” Like, it’s that kind of light sleep where you might appear like awake, but you’re kind of out of it. Or, if you’re, my husband hates when I give this example, but you know, he’ll come in and he’ll put his head on the pillow and immediately start snoring. And I’m like, “Hey, how are you snoring so fast?” He’s like, “I’m not even asleep yet”.
I think our husbands have the same problem
It has happened on more than one occasion where I’ve explained this to the client and they’re like, “That is also my husband.”
I’m very envious of that skill
I have never in my life been able to put my head on a pillow and just go to sleep, ever. Like I got to think about 25,000 things first.
Especially if you’re a baby.
Oh, 100%. So the tricky thing with babies is that you can feed them to the point of stage one sleep and not know it all the time. So I’ll give you an example. So you know, if it’s, if you think… My way to decide, is it a sleep association? And this goes for everyone. Okay. So if you’re listening to this podcast right now and you’re like, “yeah, yeah, she’s using a bottle, but I, we don’t use a bottle.” I want you to ask yourself this. If you took the thing that you do right before your child falls asleep away, would they cry. If they would cry? That’s a sleep association. So I hear it all the time where it’s like parents will say, no, they’re not falling asleep on it. They just get calm or they get drowsy or you know, for older babies, if you have an older baby, like it can get tricky when you have a toddler and they have a sippy cup and they’re like, “no, no, no, they don’t need a bottle.” They just have, you know, six ounces of milk and they sit there and they like get a little bit dozey and they make love to that bottle or that, that sippy. It’s like, well, yeah, that’s the thing. It also works on the other end, so on, it’s not as common, but it does happen where children start to wake for that comfort of a bottle or a pacifier or a boob or whatever the case is. It could even be like cuddles in the bed or, you know, I love those things too. I’m not an asshole. Those are great things. But again, if your child absolutely, positively needs them at some point, that might be a problem for you. So I’ve had clients where, you know, for example, they would get up and immediately they would be given a bottle. So then the wake time would start to get earlier and earlier and earlier because the child knows like, “Hey, if I cry long enough I’m going to get this nice comforting thing.” And then it turns into like 4am – 4am is way too early to be awake. And then we have a bottle and then we fall asleep so close to the bottle and then it like reinforces that as a sleep association. Does that make sense?
Yea it does.
So then the next part of your question is probably going to be what now!
Yeah, what now? I think I know I need to remove the bottle.
Yeah, so this is where I can’t get into super specifics, but I can give you a general guide and answer and let you do some work and research. And it could include like talking to me or not. But essentially when you have a sleep association, taking it away, always means some sort of tears, which sucks. It’s just I wish that I always tell my clients, if I figure out a way to help your baby sleep well and avoid all tears, I will be the richest woman on the planet. And I will, I will share it with you. I will do it. But when you do take it away.
That’s alright though I don’t mind that a couple of tears if that means that we’re working toward something.
Yeah, exactly.
And not everyone will agree with it but yeah.
Well, I, that’s my whole life. Not everyone agrees with me either, but you know, I’ve done a lot of research. I’m currently doing my Infant Mental Health training. We can… Your children can cry when we support them and that they know that we’re there in whatever capacity that is. So there’s lots of different methodologies to do that. Um, if you’re working with me, I’m going to be picking out the one that works best for your family, your philosophy. But there are lots of methodologies ranging from staying in the room with your child to leaving the room and checking. I’m a big fan of checks. Some people are not. My infant mental health training really wants me to, uh, encourage parents to do checks and reassuring for their children. It may prolong the protest somewhat, but with most of, I want to say 98% of my clients, the crying is gone usually within three days. Like the hard, hard, bad crying. Your child might cry up to 10 or 15 minutes before bed, because they have FOMO and the love life, you know, going forward. But it, like, I think when people think of sleep training, you know, that dirty dirty word, they think of like your baby crying in a dark room and you shut the door and you don’t go back until the morning and you say, “screw you baby. I want my sleep.” While you’re like gallivanting and enjoying your life, that’s nothing… It does not have to look like that. I always talk about, there’s this article I read a few years ago about this. I should find it and share it, but it was about this woman who went to visit her friend and she, it was like her and her partner visiting her friend and her partner who just had a baby. And they put the baby down and the baby is screaming hysterically and, and while the mother is pouring a glass of wine and said, “Oh, don’t worry, we’re just sleep training.” Like I have helped so many families, like hundreds and hundreds of families. I can assure you that sleep training is not like that. Like, no mom is like, I’m cool. I’m just having wine and inviting friends over to listen to my child scream.
That is so ridiculous.
It’s so ridiculous. Like it’s mom and dad sitting on the floor outside the door. Someone is definitely sweating. The other person has a timer, you know, or you’re in the room with your child. Someone, you know, a parent is crying. One of the parents is crying. Like it’s ridiculous. Anyway, when you do it right, it’s not long and prolonged. So I really like to, to share that message. So don’t be afraid of of removing it. It’s not going to be easy.
What if we were to wean him off, like we give him six ounces I think at night right now, if we, we begin dropping it an ounce every two days and then we were thinking like two ounces to cut it all together cause he won’t be as drowsy on the bottle because it’s not as much in the bottle. Or do you recommend just removing it altogether?
So here’s the thing, you know, I in theory and on paper that works, right? You would think that, you know, if we do this like kind of slowly, it’ll be less of an issue. It’s not about the food for him, it’s about the, the sucking. Does this make sense? The lulling and the comfort because he’s a big guy. He’s a great weight. He’s a year. He’s now transitioned off of formula. He eats lots of great nutritious food during the day. It’s not a calorie issue, especially before nap.
So you don’t think he’s waking because he’s hungry?
I think that, well the fact that he wakes sometimes and not others indicates that it’s probably not hunger. There could be, now this does happen, where babies do take a large amount of calories overnight. And then they, they don’t eat as much solids or drink as much milk during the day because their body knows there’s a feeding coming. So it’s one of those things where we might have to like, then I would probably gently remove the calorie slowly from the night, from the day.
I mean it’s almond milk so he’s not really getting much in there. It’s just basically water.
I was just gonna say that. I really don’t think so. The, you know, answering that question might be helpful for you to know that. After I would say 3am, so basically as soon as it’s dusk, outside in the evening, our bodies start to produce the hormone melatonin to make us feel tired. And then once we start to produce melatonin, we fall asleep. That melatonin stops producing between three or four in the morning. And that’s when you start to get, like when clients tell me, “Oh my baby does a big stretch, and then they’re up every hour on the hour after like two or three,” that’s really in line with when our melatonin stops producing and our cortisol levels start rising to wake us up for the day. So the fact that he’s waking at that three or that four or five time is probably more to do with where his melatonin is at and the fact that he’s stirring, he doesn’t know how to quite put himself back down without a little bit of assistance. So for sure you go in, you give him the bottle, it’s not a lot of calories. It’s likely not hungry and it’s not hunger, especially at a year. And then yeah, and then you’re going to get that sleep.
So here’s what happened last night. He woke up at 4:30am, I think somewhere around that time and we let him cry it out for 10 minutes and he went back to bed.
Interesting.
And then he woke again at 6:30.
Yeah. That’s great.
And no, not for the day though. Then we gave him a bottle because he wasn’t finished sleeping like I could tell, he was just very angry like ready to scream.
Right.
And usually when he wakes up really happy and you can hear him playing in his crib for awhile.
Yeah, it’ll, it’ll be some tough stuff. Now remember, you know, for listeners and you know, for you, Natasha, this is advice for Natasha, specifically her baby, the age of her baby, the weight of her baby. There are going to be lots of babies. Like if you have a four month old who’s waking at four o’clock in the morning, they probably need the calories. This is not for your young babies. We’re talking about a one-year-old, which is a very different baby. their calorie consumption that the, the, what’s the word I’m looking for? They’re eating complex foods, uh, different nutrients. So it is a very different scenario. I really don’t think it’s hunger. I think that it’s probably the sucking and lulling motion to be honest.
Okay so if he like, for example, for what happened last night, should I have just woke him up at 6:30am and been like, okay, we’re going to carry on with our day.
That’s what I probably would have done. Now, right, like today it would have been shit. He would have been super cranky and mad. Now, the whole process is going to be three crappy days of him adjusting his body clock. What time is bedtime for Hudson?
7/7:30pm.
Okay. So that’s a good amount of sleep. That’s about 11 hours. So I would take him out, start your day. And then once he’s in the routine of not falling asleep on a bottle, it, that will adjust. He’ll wake up at six 30 because waking is really normal. We all wake like 20 times a night or something. Right. We shift and we fall back to sleep. The difference is at 6:30am when he knows how to fall asleep, he’s going to shift and probably put himself back down or whine a little bit until he totally ready to be awake.
Mhm, yes. Okay. I can deal with that.
Okay. Like it, I’m, I hope I’m not making it sound super easy. It’s usually not as bad as people think, but it’s not like, “okay, I’ll let you go.” Like it sucks hearing your kid whine, especially when you’re like, I have this bottle here, it’s so easy to make you stop doing this.
No, on paper, what you’re saying makes perfect sense.And I kind of sensed that was what we needed to do. I’m hoping if we do this, like you said, it’s just gonna be a couple of rough days and then he’ll adjust his sleep to what he actually needs for, it’s not him waking up screaming bloody murder. It’s him playing this crib and, and waking up a bit more pleasant.
Totally. Totally. I, yeah, exactly. It doesn’t, it’s usually not as horrible as you think it is. Like people will tell me all the time like, well, I usually tell people the worst part about sleep training are the days before sleep training, when you’re dreading it and you think it’s going to be awful, and then you’re in it. And the, the thing, and you said this perfectly, we’re working towards something. This is not forever. No one would ever hire me if I made their babies cry forever.
Yeah, exactly.
That’d be really bad.
Yeah. No, and I, if I, I find no that it, I mean it’s just a work in progress and then we’re going to see some results, it motivates us to work at it. We know that it’s still challenging, but we’re going to have him sleeping properly.
Totally.
And I mean him waking up in the middle of the night, whatever time it is isn’t good for him. Yeah. He needs a full sleep uninterrupted without screaming.
Is Hudson at any point going to daycare or anything?
No he’s not.
Oh, awesome. Okay, great.
Not anytime soon. He’s only on one nap now.
Okay. Well the reason why I mentioned that is for a lot of, of clients of mine around the 12 month mark, moms are going back to work. One of the main concerns is that, um, their child will need this thing at daycare to fall asleep, whatever it is. Like there are some kids who need their backs rubbed or to be rocked or shushed. This is another great motivator. You know, one of your concerns is like, look, we want to have a night out and we want to have grandma and grandpa have a pretty great evening. I get a lot of messages from past clients telling me how their child is the favourite at daycare because they sleep.
I would like for people to tell me that too!
Yeah, exactly. And you want your, you want your babysitters to come back. You want like every one of our babysitters has always been like, no, I love babysitting for you because your kids just go to sleep. Like this is like, I know it feels so small, but people will love working with you and just like being with your kids because they sleep and they’re rested.
And I think parents have less anxiety. I know that we left our son a couple of weeks ago with grandma for a few days and the whole time all I could think about was, I hope he’s treating her well at night. I hope he’s not waking. I hope she, cause she doesn’t know the rhythms that we do and I don’t want him to wake up at night and disturb her anyway. So it was just a mess for us thinking about how she is.
Totally. And then, you know, when you have a good sleeper you, I mean, pardon the pun, you can rest easy, right? You leave, you just, you know that things are well. I mean, and then your people are gonna want to help you again cause it’s not so hard.
Yep. Yep.
Well I think this… I’m sorry?
That that would be the goal!
Yes. I thought you said I have a cold. I’m like, well, that I can’t help you with,
I don’t have a cold. I feel great.
Okay, great. Awesome. Well does that answer your question, Natasha?
It does! And I really appreciate you walking me through this. Like kind of a felt like there was something we needed to do and then I’m happy just to be reassured.
Oh good! I’m so glad and thank you for putting your voice on the internet!
Hey guys, thanks for listening to another edition of slumber party. As always, you guys can find me at www.babysbestsleep.com for all of my tips and tricks and good stuff you can head to www.babysbestsleep.com/blog for written out versions of the things that we talk about on this podcast. I also always post a transcript of everything that I write on my website. That’s www.babysbestsleep.com/slumberparty for all of that. And as always, you can find me on Instagram @babysbestsleep. If any of this stuff sounds like, “Ugh, God, Amanda, I need you right now,” you can always book a free 15 minute discovery call. If you are looking to work with me and you are looking to work with a consultant, you can do that. You can book your free call at www.babysbestsleep.com/15mins that’s 15 minutes and you can speak with me and there’s never an obligation and I’m not a pushy person. I’ll tell you what’s going on and you can go about your merry way. Thanks so much for listening, guys. Have a great day!