S3E5: Amanda Answers Kristi: "How Do I Get Back On Track?" | Baby's Best Sleep

Voice Over:
You’re listening to the Slumber Party podcast with your host Amanda Jewson, a mom of two girls, a child and infant sleep expert and general sleep lover. If you’re a tired parent who is desperate for answers or just someone who loves sleep, this podcast was created just for you. Each episode is packed full of tips and tricks to help you maintain your sanity as well as your social life during the early stages of parenthood. So grab your headphones, it’s time to get comfy.

Amanda:
Kristi reached out to me as a former client who.. we worked together when her baby was around 4 months old and things were supremely awesome. But Atli turned 11 months old and started protesting naps, started protesting night times, and we started to see some early mornings. So this is a great example of when things change, get off track. We really need to adjust some things to make sure that baby’s development is also being considered. So Kristi and I have a great chat on how to get back on track and things to think about and some troubleshooting issues that you can do if you’re having issues with your kids. Enjoy.

Kristi, are you there?

Kristi:
Yes.

Amanda:
Hi! How are you?

Kristi:
Good! How are you?

Amanda:
I’m good. How is Atli?

Kristi:
He is adorable.

Amanda:
He’s ONE!

Kristi:
I know. It’s crazy.

Amada:
You know what? I did a little, a little intro video before you called. And I was like, Yeah, Atli is eight months, because it just, in my mind, it couldn’t have been that long. And then I was looking at all of my notes in your file, and I was like, he is ONE! I can’t believe it! That’s so crazy.

Kristi:
Time went by so quickly.

Amanda:
Oh, my God. He’s a person now.

Kristi:
Yeah. Big personality!

Amanda:
I was telling everybody prior to this that you are a former client. We worked together, I actually did an in-home consultation with you and your lovely, charming husband. And we were, we did an in-home, and Atli was a champion and literally like what? By week two, we didn’t really have that much to talk about

Kristi:
By week one, we didn’t have much to talk about!

Amanda:
It was so good. I was like, “Hi, do you still need me?” Yeah. Anyway, you, I wanted to have you on the podcast, mostly because I think that your problem is a pretty common one. People will sleep train, things are awesome, and then there’s generally, like, a big life change or like travel. In your case, it was a move, and things are kind of off balance and off kilter now, and I think this happens a lot. It happens a lot with clients and I just wanted to have you want to kind of talk about your problems specifically, and then let’s do a deep dive on some strategies to get you back on track.

Kristi:
Okay.

Amanda:
All right. So jump in. Tell me what happened. What did you do?

Kristi:
So for, until he was 11 months, perfect sleeper. 7pm-7am, two naps that weren’t bad, like he dropped down to two naps and then about a month ago, he woke up 30 minutes earlier, and then the next week it was another 30 minutes earlier, and that continued till he hit 5 a.m. which is a bit much for us. And then it’s descended into naptime. So, like some naps he’ll go down okay, but some he’ll cry for a good 30 minutes just to take a 30-1 hour nap. And that’s kind of we’re ending up. Sometimes if we leave him at 5am to cry for, like, 1/2 an hour, he’ll go back to sleep until 7am. But he will not do it without crying for it, like, 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour.

Amanda:
Okay, I’m taking out my notebook now to do math, because I… Okay, so talk to me a little bit.. Tell me what time bedtime is?

Kristi:
Seven. And he loves it.

Amanda:
Okay. And he goes down. No problem at bed,

Kristi:
Usually

Amanda:
Usually. What’s it been like in the last week?

Kristi:
I’d say it’s 50/50 like, 50% of time h cried for 20 minutes, the other half the time he went, like, straight to bed.

Amanda:
Okay, then he gets up at 5 a.m. And what time is first nap?

Kristi:
Ah, usually 10.

Amanda:
10am. Okay. And he’s crying for 20 minutes there.

Kristi:
Yeah,

Amanda:
20 minutes. Kay. Then second nap, what time is second nap?

Kristi:
I usually do it 3.5 hours after he gets up. Because his nap time’s kind of vary how long they are.

Amanda:
Okay. All right. And usually how long is the nap?

Kristi:
The morning nap is usually an hour. The afternoon is 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the day.

Amanda:
Okay. Okay. And 3.5 hours is the max you’ve been going right now?

Kristi:
Yeah. Unless we’re, like, out and about. And he crashes in the car.

Amanda:
Okay. Okay. All right. So, let me see here. Okay, So then da da da dah okay, So what time is second? So say, first nap at 10. He wakes up at 11… so 2:30pm is nap 2?

Kristi:
Yeah, Yeah.

Amanda:
Roughly. And then bed at seven. Okay. And he’s getting about roughly 1.5 to 2 hours per day.

Kristi:
Yep!

Amanda:
Okay, so then talk to me about.. So, so far I have some ideas, but before we go into that, a big thing that I like to do with my clients is just to make sure that there’s no ‘help to sleep’. And so for those listening, what I mean by ‘help to sleep’ is anything that could be existing that is helping, lulling, making them drowsy. So if we go back to episode one where I talk about what, how we kind of screw ourselves into that four month regression by helping to sleep. So when your baby is a newborn, we have to help them to sleep, right? We’re shushing, patting, doing all that stuff. And then, you know, when we do that, it means that when they are falling asleep or when they want to connect a sleep cycle overnight or through a nap, they would prefer to have that help to sleep at that time. So then sometimes what can happen is like, we accidentally are starting to be like “meh, maybe it’s okay that I feed, you know, five minutes before a nap. And then maybe it’s okay that I’m rocking a little bit.” So is there anything that could be lulling him, shushing him and getting him into that stage one of sleep? And if that doesn’t make sense to you guys, go back and listen to the my very first episode, and it will. But anything that could be getting him drowsy right now?

Kristi:
Okay. One thing was that my husband started singing him a lullaby right before you put him in the crib. But I don’t know if that counts.

Amanda:
I don’t think that’s super scary. Okay, Like he does He stay with him until he falls asleep?

Kristi:
Oh, no, definitely not.

Amanda:
Okay, that’s OK. That’s that’s fine for a routine. Does he cry more when the lullaby isn’t sung, like if it’s not happening during the day?

Kristi:
I think he does, actually. I think it, like, tells him it’s naptime because we don’t have a lot of routine.

Amanda:
Right.. You might want. Sorry, Go ahead!

Kristi:
He always kind of hated the routine when we tried to do it at first, So we’ve kind of just gone ahead with no routine

Amanda:
Okay, so, no, as I mean, that’s not super…That shouldn’t be the thing. But, you know, one thing that we could do is kind of firm up a nice nap time routine. So something quick. Five minutes. Really that could be diaper change,read like goodnight moon or something even shorter if you have it, and then pop him down. And then maybe if we can’t do the, if we can’t do the lullaby for every situation, if it’s not something that we can produce and we suspect that it might be something, that could be something that we eliminate from night and day and just replace it with something really consistent that both mom and dad can do. So we could do that. Okay, so let’s look at your timing for the day. The other thing that before we jump into your timing, talk to me about what leap Atli is in right now or do you know?

Kristi:
Oh, I have no idea.

Amanda:
Okay, So, actually, you know, this is a really good thing that I want to talk about as well, because you’re at the 12 month time and I get a lot of clients who call me a 12 months, and they’re like, “You know what? My baby is rejecting all the naps. I don’t think that they want two naps. I’m gonna put them on to one nap.” And so you know, a lot of kids are on one them at 12 months because they’re in day care. Is Atli in daycare right now?

Kristi:
No, have three more months before it goes to daycare.

Amanda:
Okay, Perfect. So a lot of kids are there. I mean, the risk of transitioning him to one nap too early means early morning wake ings. It can also mean, like, just really a general over tiredness until he gets it together. So early mornings, lots of protests. It’s kind of crappy. So I would hold out as long as you can. How long has this problem been occurring for you?

Kristi:
It started at the beginning of.. so like a month,

Amanda:
One month. Okay, so that’s a considerable amount of time. The other thing that I like to remind clients off is that you know, if it’s a leap behavior thing, it’s probably like a five day to maximum two week issue, and then it should resolve itself. But this is this has been going on for quite some time, so I bet this has more to do with probably some developmental stuff. As well, as some timing things that we can shift for him. So Okay, what I would say is I think that we might need to, I think what’s happening at the 10 a.m. time, if he’s getting about five, we’re, I’m assuming that you were going off, assuming he’s getting up at six, right? We always want to start our day from six because of babies having early morning, early morning, and we keep calculating the wake window from, you know, the time they wake, their body will continually wake at that time. At the 5 a.m. time, is there anything… Are there any lights going on? Feedings happening, anything like that?

Kristi:
No. We’ve avoided it cause we’re kind of tired, so we end up leaving the lights off anyways and stuff, if we do respond to him at all.

Amanda:
And what about like, any screens when he wakes up any, like, bottle or boob immediately upon waking?

Kristi:
Um, some days, if we’re really desperate, he’ll get the boob.

Amanda:
Okay. So I would just make sure that obviously, you’re gonna feed him whatever way you choose, but maybe not immediately. We’re just gonna wait five or 10 minutes, so we’re not rewarding the wake. Okay, so the 10am nap I’m not super worried about, but at a year, I’m wondering if he needs a longer wake window of maybe like a solid four hours, and it does seem incosequet… Inconsequential. Don’t ask me to talk past 5pm, I swear I can’t do it. A does seem inconsequential. But really, even 15 minutes can make all the difference for you. So I would even look at your first morning wake window, seems okay to me. The protest of 20 minutes, I’m wondering if that’s coinciding with his early mornings, where he has to be up for five hours. So maybe on those days where he’s woken up a little bit early. I would probably make his naptime maybe like 9:30/9:45 Nothing crazy. But yeah, I, I think your first morning is probably good. That’s also where you’re getting your best snap. So then after that, if he’s doing the hour, I would wait your full 4 hours in the afternoon, and then you’re gonna push him a little bit to maybe like a 3/3:30 nap. And then I would like a really long wake window before bed. Maybe even 4 to 5 hours, you know, 4/4.5 hours. This is where like, I hate being super prescriptive because it also insinuates that, like this is gonna go for everyone, right? So, like all of my parents who have a one year old who are listening to this podcast episode right now, don’t be like “Okay its a five hour wake window!”, what I’m asking you to do is push the wake window to a time where it’s not super uncomfortable, but where we may be getting results. I would say at the very max it would be five hours, some babies are five hours. Maybe for Atli, it’s 4.5 hours, I don’t know. But I want you to do some pushing for that last wake window. Most babies could do a longer wake window in there last wake, in their last stretch, because they’re faced with about, you know, 12… you know, 10 to 12 hours of sleep. That’s also he’s getting to the point where I think that probably 7p.m. Is too early because he’s, he’s a year, so he’s probably only got about 10-11 hours of sleep in him, which he is getting on. Then he’s up at five. So I think we just need a way to kind of push out the day a little bit. So to make the bedtime a little bit later, don’t rush that, don’t pop him into bed at eight o’clock tomorrow. That’ll probably be too hard for him. I would do this in 15 minute increments, every three days. So move him to, you know, maybe 7:15pm. I… and you’re going to do the same with your wake windows as well. So push that out about 15 minutes for every three days until you’re at a spot, that you’re seeing some results. And then while you’re doing this, I want you to be really patient because it’s hard to be patient when we’re making these transitions, because what we’re trying to do is for we’re switching up his body clock a little bit, right? So for him, he’s been up at 5am and his body wants to do things at 5am. So he might continue to get up at 5 and go to bed at 8 for a little while. That’s actually gonna create a little bit of sleep debt for him that hopefully within, like, two weeks, he’s gonna payback through a stretch until 6, at least. So hopefully we can get you a little bit later. That’s what I would start off with right now.

So, Step one. I’m gonna go through this all with you again. So step one. We’re gonna firm up that that routine for you. Okay, We’re gonna firm it up nicely. We’re gonna make sure that it’s beautiful. It’s something that everyone can do and that for Atli, it’s familiar. So you’re not, you know, essentially screwed when Dad’s at work and you can’t sing this amazing lullaby, or Dad only does it at nighttime. You know what I mean? And then we have something that he really understand. I don’t want to take the lullaby away.

Kristi:
It is pretty sweet

Amanda:
But maybe we just have a very consistent routine for today. So that’s step one. Step two, We’re gonna extend the wake windows to 4 hours during the day. We’re going to keep that first wake window the same. Maybe on early days we do a 9:30/9:45 naptime instead. So for the 2nd one, after he has his good nap, we’re going to give him four hours. We’re not going to rush into that. We’re going to do that by 15 minutes for every three days. And if you get to, like, only 30 minutes or like, you’ve only had to extend 15 minutes and you’re next nap is an hour, stop until you have to move ahead again. Okay. Then I want you to do the same for bedtime anywhere from a 4 to 5 hour wake window before bed again, playing with that 15 minute increment before you go to bed. So you’re gonna do that until you find that. I would I’m gonna be aiming for, like, an 8:30 bedtime, depending on what your naps look like. And then hopefully that will get us to 6am within 2 to 4 weeks. So when we’re doing these sort of shifts for the morning, it takes a while. So if you think about, like daylight savings, daylight savings is such a good example. When we’re going to spring forward, we lose an hour of sleep, and it takes the average person 2 to 4 weeks to really figure out their life after that. So I would, I would just be conscious of that, because I know, maybe I’m giving myself a little counselling, because when I had babies, I’d be like, “Okay, I did this thing and didn’t work and that sucks and everything sucks. And my baby’s gonna be up at five.” Be very patient about that. And remember this conversation, that it will take time. Yeah. How’s that? How are we feeling about that? So far?

Kristi:
Yeah, we’re getting there

Amanda:
Awesome. And how’s the new house? Any sort of… Do you think this is at all related to your big change?

Kristi:
No. No, he definitely settled into the routine like after we’d moved

Amanda:
That’s so good. So he was able to jump right back in.

Kristi:
Yeah, well, he was a little fussy for the first week or two, and then he was fine.

Amanda:
Okay, Amazing. That’s so lucky. Um, I always like to have a disclaimer, and this doesn’t, I’m not, again, I’m counselling myself. This is a thought I had about talking, giving advice for myself. Kristi, you’re really chilled out person. So I’m not actually worried about this for you, but sometimes when we have these early morning wakes or naps that aren’t working, clients tend to panic, and then they’re like “Things aren’t working. Why isn’t it happening? What’s happening? What’s going on?!?” And I think sometimes it’s that energy that holds our kids back. So when I’m talking to clients, I always use the excuse, or not excuse, the story of my daughters who, you know, my husband. I want to go on a date in the evening, and we’ll be like “Okay, We’re gonna go on this date and it’s gonna be so awesome. And we’re not gonna tell our kids we’re gonna go after they fall asleep.” Because if we tell them, we’ll be like, “No, don’t want you to go!!!” and play games at all this stuff. So then, you know, fast forward to like an hour before bed, and my daughter will just look at me and be like, “Where you going?” And I haven’t said anything. We haven’t talked about anything but clearly, I’m just putting out some juju that I’m leaving and something’s happening. So when we put in this extra pressure and energy, to our kids, for any sort of transition or early morning, or like, “fall asleep!!!”, I do think that there’s something there. There’s always something there. When I have a client who really, really, really wants to make it happen. The baby doesn’t let go until the parent has let go. And once the parent has said, “You know what? Fine. Forget it. I’m fine with 30 minute naps.” The next day that baby sleep for an hour and 1/2, like it always happens, and I can’t bottle this up and I can’t like, maybe I should write a thesis on this because it happes so much in my work, and I understand how these transitions could be very frustrating. But just, if you are listening and this is you, This was Amanda Jewson, please know that your kids feel everything. If you want them, if you’re pressuring them to do something, they will not do it. They feel that pressure. They don’t like it. They will if anything. Janet Lansbury, who’s a great parenting expert. She talks about like kids feeling, just, just wait for this. And maybe you’re experiencing this now, Kristi, but your kid will be two, and they’ll slap you in the face. And it’s like the most jarring and horrible experience because you want to slap them back. But obviously you’re not going to because you’re not a monster. But you’re like, “Don’t do that” and your kids sees that like, “Ooh, there’s something” like they’re flicking the wound a little bit there, like “what’s there, What’s going on? What’s happening? I want to experiment!” and they slap you again. And you’re like, Oh, my God! So then then there’s this. Now there’s a thing, right? And so your kid is not getting, the reaction that they want. But they’re feeling that there’s something that they want to experiment with and play with and know about. And I think that really relates to sleep in my experience with my clients as well. So there’s another part too, of a lesson. You didn’t ask for Christy, but you got it. Anyway,

Kristi:
he’s already doing that.

Amanda:
Okay, so you’re seeing it In what ways?

Kristi:
Oh, he’s a bit of like a hitter. And, like, throw things on the ground and then look at you and smile.

Amanda:
Of course. Of course I love that. And you’re like, I’m gonna lose my mind.

Kristi:
He’s got a lot of energy.

Amanda:
Oh yeah, I know. Well, look, you’re doing amazing. I’m glad that you reached out. I want you to reach back out to me in 1 to 2 weeks with a little bit of an update, and I want to know how things are going, and we can make any adjustments that we need to make if we need to.

Kristi:
Perfect. Thank you.

Amanda:
Amazing. Thank you so much. Kristi. Thank you for sharing everything.

Kristi:
Thank you!

Amanda:
Alright, see you later. Thanks. Bye.