Ask the Sleep Expert- Rebecca Michi- Sleeping Through The Night, Transitioning, and Night Weaning- Sleep In Arm’s Reach

The Leakies with Rebecca Michi
This post made possible by the generous support of Arms Reach Co-Sleeper

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We asked sleep consultant Rebecca Michi to come help us all get some more sleep and we asked the Leakies to share their current sleep struggles. Here are a few of the responses, followed by Rebecca’s support.

 

Dear Rebecca,

Is it normal for a 4-5 year old to not sleep through the night yet? At 4, my son still wakes to come co-sleep with us and my 6 year old also goes through phases where she won’t sleep through the night. Is there anything we can do to help this? I worry because night wakings sometimes affect school. I think this is normal, but my husband doesn’t sleep well when they crowd us. My daughter says she wakes and is too scared to return to sleep alone. How can we make both my son and daughter feel more safe and/or my husband feel more comfortable?

I really appreciate your advice, thank you,

Feeling Crowded

 

HI Feeling Crowded,

We all wake during the night, up to 6 times is quite normal but it is no wonder you’re feeling a little crowded! I would make up beds for them on the floor of your room, don’t make them too comfortable, just a blanket and pillow is fine. When they come in to your room they can sleep on the floor but not in your bed. They may soon realize that their bed is much more comfortable than the floor of your room and want to stay in their own bed.

Hope that helps!

~Rebecca

 

Dear Rebecca,

My 17 month old co sleeps and always has. He lets me leave at night when he’s asleep for the night but I cannot sneak away from him at nap time. What can I do to start having him nap on his own?

Sneakily yours,

Ready To Have Nap Time To Myself

 

Hi Sneakily,

Nap sleep is quite different than night sleep. At the beginning of the night we all get into a deep sleep, this means that you can sneak away after getting him to sleep. He will get into a deep sleep at nap time, but it’s not as deep. Try shifting away after he’s been asleep for 10 minutes. Pop a pillow next to him so he has something to snuggle with. When you do shift away initially stay next to the bed, place your hands on him if you can see he’s coming into a light sleep (moves or makes a noise) jiggle him a little and help him back to a deeper sleep. Don’t rush off when he’s asleep, spend the time helping him remain asleep and he will have an easier time sleeping for longer.

Good luck sneaking away!

~Rebecca

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Dear Rebecca,

When is a reasonable time for a baby to stop nursing to sleep? I keep being told that if I give my 9 month old more solids he won’t want to eat at all at night. I feed him all he wants but I try not to push him after he stops showing interest. I don’t mind the night feedings since we co sleep and he takes the breast when he wants at night without waking me much. I have been told we should stop night feedings once a baby has teeth.

Do I need to start weaning him from nursing to sleep by a certain point? I really don’t want to but maybe I’m just trying to hold on to his baby stage.

Nursing to sleep and fine with it,

Holding On

 

Hello Fine With It,

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! He will need to fall asleep independently at some point, maybe before his first sleepover or when he goes off to college and I’m quite sure that he will have been sleeping independently before that!

You don’t need to stop nursing during the night because he has teeth, you don’t need to stop nursing through the night because he’s on solids, you don’t need to stop nursing through the night because someone told you to. You continue to feed during the night until it is no longer working for the both of you. When it’s not working, that is the perfect time to stop.

Enjoy what’s working for you!

~Rebecca


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Be sure to check out Rebecca’s book Sleep And Your Child’s Temperament and don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate in her Sleep Academy here.

If you have a question you would like Rebecca to answer next time, leave a comment.

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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. Dear Rebecca,

    I’m having a similar issue “Nursing to sleep and fine with it”. My 6 month old still nurses to sleep and wakes 2 – 3 times a night. I nurse her back to sleep. I do get up cuz she sleeps in her crib. I take her to the couch and nurse and put her back to her crib when she is asleep. Everyone keeps telling me she doesn’t know how to comfort herself because I do this and that she needs to learn to. Am I really hurting her by doing this? I’m getting sleep and she is getting sleep too. I”ll admit that some nights are worse than others, but all-in-all I think it is working for us. My counselor said I have “attachment issues” and need to give her a bottle of a night to break her from waking, but that just doesn’t sound right to me. What are your thoughts? If she doesn’t naturally stop waking of a night is there an age I should try to “break” this?

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