Rest Well- Sleep Support From Sleep Consultant Rebecca Michi

The Leakies with Rebecca Michi

We asked sleep consultant Rebecca Michi to come help us all get some more sleep and we asked the Leakies to rate how they were sleeping on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best and to tell us about it. Here are a few of the responses followed by Rebecca’s support.

Rebecca Michi sleep consultant

Brittany: I would say a 4. my 13 mo wakes up every 1-2 hours and wants to nurse like a newborn. We co-sleep and started to transition to his crib. but I’m still not getting sleep he sits up and cries cause he can’t find the boob. He has never slept more then 3 hours. We have been on a bedtime routine for months now started bedtime at 7:30p and nothing seems to work. Read books about sleep did everything and still a short sleeper.

Rebecca: How long do you think he could go between feeds during the night right now? 3 hours? He could probably do without a feed at all during the night, but as he is used to feeding lots his tummy will be hungry if you drop to no feeds or have a long time between those feeds during the night. Get a little nightlight that you need to turn on before you feed at those 3 hour intervals during the night. This is the cue for a feed not just because he woke up. In between those feeds times do whatever you can do to help him back to sleep, rocking, walking, patting, singing, dancing, shushing, anything! If your partner can help in between those feeds it would be very helpful. Maybe you could both take short shifts. If you are trying to get him to sleep as it wasn’t a feed time when he woke and he doesn’t fall asleep, but you get to a feed time, turn that light on and feed him. Don’t worry if he falls asleep feeding. As he gets used to not being fed at every wake up and so often he should begin to increase those periods of sleep. You can continue to work on this until you are comfortable with the amount he’s feeding (or not!).

 

Lauren: I get less then 5 hours of sleep at night. In short 2 hour chunks. My son is 14 months, and barely goes 2h between comfort nursing. I would cosleep, but then he crawls all over me, and pinches and nurses all night long. I can’t take it any more. He hardly eats solids, and barely eats during waking hours. I love the snuggles, but have seriously contemplated bottle feeding my next child just so he/she isn’t so attached at the hip to me. I have never been away from my son for more than 4 hours in his life. It is very tiring, and does affect my relationship with my husband and older daughter (4).

Rebecca: If he’s getting the majority of his calories during the night he will wake often to nurse. Try as best you can get a few more nursing sessions into him during the day. Often people have success feeding before or after their child has napped, the room is dark, their child is relaxed and there are very few distractions around. You can also try offering solid foods little and often throughout the day. You can always add breastmilk to his solid foods.

During the night set your feed times, how long can he go between feeds? 3 hours? Only feed at those times. Have a little nightlight as your cue for feeding (turn it on before you feed) and help him back to sleep any way possible when it’s not a feed time. Don’t worry if he wakes after 2 hours, help as much as you need to, if he hasn’t fallen asleep at 3 hours since the last feed, turn the nightlight on and feed him. Continue through the night. He will have fed less during the night so make sure you are offering more nursing and solid foods the following day. Stick with the 3 hour feedings for 3 nights and then stretch out a little further (3 ½ or 4 hours?). Having your partner help with this would be a huge benefit as it will become more of a challenge before it gets better.

Sleep training 12 weeks 4 month sleep regression

Tearra: My 5 month old was such a good sleeper only waking every 4 hours at night. Untill he reached about 3 months old. For the last 2 months he has been waking every 1 to 2 hours at night wants to be nursed back to bed every time. Will not take a bottle. He sleeps in his own room. He’s my 3rd baby, and I can’t Cosleep. It’s not comfortable to me. I’m so tired. I don’t know what to do. My other little now 2 and 5 never did this and our still great sleepers.

Rebecca: There is a very big shift that happens with sleep at around 12 weeks of age (52 weeks from conception, so it does depend if they were born early of late), children shift from having infant sleep cycles to having adult sleep cycles (they are shorter than ours). From then on they have REM dream sleep and a deep sleep (they didn’t before). They also begin to produce melatonin (a sleep inducing hormone) when they get into a dark dim environment. Going through this shift can make very big changes to the way a child sleeps and as parents we get to help them through that. It’s not unusual that this began around 12 weeks of age.

First off I would take a look at the day routine, whenever I work with a family we always work on the routines first, it can have a huge impact on night sleep. Have a maximum of 2 hours awake and then a nap, have a 10 minute nap routine (really consistent and within your awake time), all throughout the day. Being awake for longer can result in short naps and then overtiredness when going to bed at night, when we are overtired we struggle to fall asleep and remain asleep.

As you are not bed sharing it doesn’t look like you will be over helping (where you are helping too soon), I presume he is wide awake before you are going and helping (this is a good thing to do, we want to make sure he is awake and actually needing help when you go in). Have you tried not feeding? Sending your partner in to help? If feeding is the only way you can get your child to sleep (at the beginning of the night and as back to sleep during the night) you may want to consider some gentle sleep training. My technique, The Michi Method is a very hands on gentle technique. This will gradually and gently teach your child to fall asleep more independently and back asleep more independently, when it isn’t a feed time. He may still need a feed during the night until he is around 12 months old, just not every 2 hours and not as they only way to get back to sleep.

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We’re so excited to be giving away 4 of Rebecca’s books Sleep And Your Child’s Temperament to 4 lucky Leakies! Use the widget below to enter.

Comment here if you have a question you would like Rebecca to answer next time.

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small Rebecca Michi121 Rebecca is a Children’s Sleep Consultant who has been working with families for over 20 years. She is a gentle sleep consultant who doesn’t believe in leaving your child to cry-it-out when teaching them to fall asleep more independently. She is passionate about helping children and their parents build healthy habits so they can finally get some sleep. By transforming drama into dreamland, her mission is to help your children—and you—get a good night’s sleep.
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Comments

  1. I would totally have advice except my second child is a horrible sleeper. My first, now 2.5, practically sleep trained herself with no intervention from us except setting her up for success with a dark and calm room, sound machine, and great routine. Baby #2, now almost 14mo, doesn’t sleep longer than 2-3 hours at a time most nights and will scream inconsoleably until given a boob even if she suckles so little that no let down happens. I always give in because it breaks my heart to hear her scream like that.

  2. Jenny Robinson says:

    I love the idea of using a night light to cue feeding time! Will that work for a 6 month old?

  3. Cricket Nelson says:

    I absolutely love TLB and Rebecca Michi! I have a 3 month old baby girl that is going through her 4 month sleep regression early and the Michi Method sounds like it would be the perfect tool for helping us continue with this new territory!

  4. Brigitte says:

    Great advice and we’re working on it!

  5. Sleep is definitely something our little one has struggled with but at 2.5 things are finally getting better! The biggest help was transitioning to a “big girl” bed.

  6. heather o says:

    cosleeping has helped with our little one’s sleep issues, but ultimately eliminating dairy and just being patient while she grows out of it has been the most beneficial! sleep issues are soooooo tough!!

  7. Co sleeping has worked great until now..at 21 months. Now I’d like my bed back and it is going to be soooo hard. 🙁 He loves it in the bed with me but I’m ready for my space again and to have my body to myself at least at night.

  8. Jessica Stevens says:

    My 3 year old has always been a horrible sleeper. It wasn’t until I got pregnant and dried up that she began falling asleep on her own. We still cosleep and she still occasionally dry comfort nurses, but it’s finally getting better at night times. I am finally not feeling so exhausted from the few hour sleep bouts I’ve endured the past 3 years. Besides the nightlight method, what else can I do to ensure the sleep struggle won’t be so bad with the newest addition when he/she arrives? Any ideas that wouldn’t require my spouses help would be great as he works 14 hour shifts and only gets a few hours sleep each night himself. Thanks!

  9. My daughter is 12mo and we have always had sleep problems. Tummy problems and gas resulting in me comforting her with nursing. Some nights, she wakes every 45minutes. We do have a night time routine and it seems to make little difference. She is also just getting started in solids, she refused for a long time. I have tried some other self soothing techniques and have recently learned that singing Silent Night really helps her to settle back down. I am too exhausted to walk the room with her screaming and crying so I just nurse her, it’s easier. She does get a probiotic and fennel tea every day to help her tummy. I would love to read the book to see if there are any other ideas to try.

  10. We’re struggling right now. Would love this book!

  11. My best tip for sleep with little ones? Co-sleep! I don’t know how I would sleep enough to go to work if I didn’t sleep with my 2 year old.

  12. The “lightbulb” moment for me was realizing that my toddler was over-tired. We were spending HOURS each night trying to get her to sleep and one of us had to sit in her room the whole time (naps were the same way; I finally had to drop them because my six-month-old would just cry in the other room). When We moved her bedtime earlier, she went right to sleep. I always suggest to friends that they try an earlier bedtime if their (non-infant) little ones won’t sleep.

  13. MyChau Brikshavana says:

    My best tip is to make the hour before bedtime as calm and loving as possible. A consistent bedtime routine also works for us (bath, book, boob/bottle) to signal that it’s time for sleep.

  14. So far co sleeping with my newborn (4 weeks) is working out best. She sleeps best on my chest and sometimes in a little rocker. She will have a tongue tue release in a few weeks and I anticipate that it will reset not only feeding but probably sleeping habits as well. I didn’t know about the sleep change at 12 weeks but will definitely be more mindful of that now!!

  15. Baby #2 is 11 weeks. I’m interested to see what kind of a sleeper she is!

  16. My 6 month old has been waking 2-3 times a night since I returned to work at 4 months old. We’ve tried everything – strict bedtime routine, not feeding to sleep, lavender oil, no cry methods, and none of it has worked for us. She seems hungry upon waking, but seems to get enough to eat during the day and has no interest in solids at this point. I am on the verge of exhaustion and would love any other ideas.

  17. My son is almost 4 months old & I have almost the same problem as Tearra. The only difference is we co-sleep & he’s my first child. He fights his sleep ALL the time. It’s usually a struggle to get him to nap during the day but once he’s finally out at night he will easily go back to sleep after nursing, which happens about every 2 hours.

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