Ask Natalie: Sleep + Postpartum Questions From Our Instagram
by Natalie Fitzgerald
Sleep Consultant, Postpartum Doula and Founder/Owner of Restored Sleep Consulting + Postpartum Care
Hi guys! Thank you so much for sending in your questions for my first segment “Ask Natalie” last week. For those who are new to the blog, I’m Natalie Fitzgerald. Mid October, we started a new Instagram Stories segment on the Ingrid & Isabel instagram called “Ask Natalie”. We wanted to give new, expecting and/or experienced mamas the platform to ask any and all questions that they may have had unanswered about pregnancy, birth, postpartum recovery, and of course SLEEP! We plan to have more like this where you can submit all of your questions! Stay tuned!
1. What are age appropriate wake times for a 7 month old?
About 2.5-3hrs, depending on the baby. Usually the morning wake window will be the shortest. I always err on the conservative side for wake time, however, and suggest watching for your baby’s sleep cues. Oftentimes the first yawn is a good sign your baby is ready for a nap.
2. Tell us about upcoming day light savings and toddlers.
The end of daylight savings can be brutal for parents! I recommend the OK to Wake Clock for toddlers, and stick with your acceptable morning wake up time. Choose a time that works for your family and your child, usually it’s some time between 6-7am (or for you lucky ones maybe a little later!) Anything before your acceptable morning wake up time, treat like a middle of the night wake up and encourage your child to go back to sleep. This may not come without some protesting and/or crying, but if you want to change the expectation, you have to do things differently.
See more on my Fall Time Change tips here!
3. My 4month old only falls asleep when I rock him in my arms. How do I get him to break the cycle?
This can be a common way to get babies to fall asleep, but the problem is that when they fall asleep in your arms and wake up after a nap or at nighttime in their crib, they will often signal/cry because they woke up in a completely different place than where they fell asleep, and it can be confusing. Try to lay your baby down before s/he falls into a deep sleep. Get your baby relaxed in your arms while rocking, and then lay baby down when you start to see the eyelids flutter and become heavy. You might want to give your baby a little extra reassurance by keeping your hands/arms on her as you lay her down. Your baby might protest the change a bit but there are lots of ways to continue giving your baby reassurance and comfort as you transition her from your arms into her own sleep space.
4. Not a newborn but how to you get your older children to sleep through the night in their own bed?
It depends on the age of the child. For toddlers and younger school-age children who learned how to sleep independently, they have not forgotten that skill, they probably just prefer to sleep with mom/dad than aloneJFor children who never slept alone, it can be hard to teach them a new way when they have only known bed-sharing for years. It isn’t impossible to teach them a new way, but will definitely involve some behavior modification and it’s likely your child will not like the change. If you are moving from a bed- sharing situation to an independent sleep situation at a later age, I would encourage you to start by sleeping with your child in THEIR room, keeping them in there all night.
5. Transitioning from two naps to only one, what does that transition look like?
Usually this happens between 15-18mo old, and you will notice your baby refuse one or both naps, or maybe take two very short naps a day. Transitioning your baby to one 2-3hr nap per day can take some
Natalie Fitzgerald is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula. Natalie’s approach to sleep training is tailored to each family she works with, meeting them exactly where they are and developing a customized plan to help them reach their sleep goals, based on their unique baby’s needs and their parenting style. Natalie walks alongside families during the time they need the most support, encouraging parents and helping them find a rhythm that works best with their baby and lifestyle. Natalie is also a member of the Postpartum Health Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She lives in San Diego with her family, including her three little ones: Connor (6yrs), Kate (3.5yrs), and Makenna (1yr).