"Ask Me Anything" about Baby Sleep with Carolynne Harvey Founder of Dream Baby Sleep

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  • Jane
    Jane Member
    edited June 2021

    Hi Carolynne,

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to ask questions and get your advice! My one-year-old who just celebrated his birthday on Friday is a pretty great sleeper. We successfully sleep-trained at 4.5 mo and nap-trained around 5.5 mo, and for the last 1-2 months he's been sleeping through the night (10.5-11.5 hr sleeps!)

    My question is actually regarding the 2-to-1 nap transition. How do we know baby is ready and how do we go about doing it? Currently, his wake windows are 3.25/3.5/3.5; on a normal day, he wakes between 7-8am, naps start around 10:30-11am and 3:45-4pm, and bedtime is 8-8:30pm. We try to cap naps to ~2.5 hours each day, and we wake him by 5pm from his last nap at the latest. We haven't extended his wake windows in a while, since all the running around he's doing (supported/learning to walk) tires him out completely, and his little internal clock basically knows when it's nap time!

    I think we're going to slowly moving to 3.5/3.5/4, but I'm not in a hurry to push him to 1 nap... although on some rare days he's been fighting the second nap, only napping for 20 mins or not napping at all. Right now, I just can't imagine him staying awake long enough each wake window for a one-nap day anytime soon! I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

  • dreambabysleep
    dreambabysleep Member, Expert

    @Mar The great news is all bets are off 0-4 months so you have a clean slate and have done a great job. Short naps are common, we can teach baby to connect sleep cycles by applying the 1 hour rule, check out more details in the nap blog. You want to offer 3 naps at about 9am, noon and 3pm and bedtime no later than 6:30pm at this age. Choose a sleep training method like Pick Up Put Down or Check & Console and apply to the short naps and night waking outside a scheduled feed. The best place to start is with my 3 part free video training! You're doing awesome. Visit us on Instagram and grab my 4 month sleep regresion survival guide!


  • Hi, we have a 7MO who goes to sleep on her own at 8pm. She's been teething and/or had a cold for about 8 weeks now. This means she wakes between 3am - 5am crying with a very stuffy nose. I try to use saline drops and suction her nose and put her back down to sleep, but she typically requires a feed in order to fall asleep again until 7am. Am I sabotaging our chances of effectively sleep training later by feeding her during those early morning hours?

  • Yusra
    Yusra Member
    edited June 2021

    Hi Carolynne,

    I have recently sleep trained my 16 month old and he’s sleeping great through the night but his naps are very short (between 40-50 mins). He wakes up crying and really tired but he can’t put himself back to sleep for a nap. He wakes up at 6am and usually takes a nap after 5/5.5hr mark. It’s been 1.5 months since his sleep training and naps are still such a struggle. Because he’s up by noon he sleeps at 6:30pm because he’s exhausted. For his nap we keep his room pitch black with a loud sound machine and it works great for night time but I don’t know how to help him take longer naps. I’ve tried putting him down earlier in case he’s overtired but if I put him down too early he doesn’t even fall asleep.

    any other tips?

  • JuneK
    JuneK Member

    Hi Carolynne,

    Thank you so much for your time, it is really appreciated. We unsuccessfully sleep-trained our 6-month old baby a month ago and we've decided to give it another go next week (at 7-months). He has to be held to sleep for his naps and has to be nursed to sleep several times in the night. He currently has 2 naps- 9-11 am and 1-3 pm. Wakes up at 7 am and is in bed by 7 pm.

    We have three questions. 1) should we sleep train both naps and night at the same time? Will it be too hard on him seeing that he's heavily dependent on his crutches? 2) How long should we try during the day so that he's not too exhausted for bedtime? 3) The last time we tried his demeanor changed; he seemed exhausted and stressed, is this normal? (that's why we quit)

    Thanks again for your time!

  • dreambabysleep
    dreambabysleep Member, Expert

    @Sam_B Short napping at this age is very common. First we look at timing, you want to be on 3 naps at about 9am noon and 3pm. The goal is nap 1&2 to be 60 minutes or longer of asleep time. A sleep cycle is about 20-30 minutes so we apply the 1 hour rule to naps to teach baby how to connect sleep cycles. We need to start with drowsy but awake, if baby falls asleep on you she will surely wake looking for you. Choose a sleep method you're comfortable with and apply it when she short naps. With short naps bedtime should be no later than 6:3OPM for now. Hang in there you're doing great.


  • dreambabysleep
    dreambabysleep Member, Expert

    Hi @Marisa I feel for you wasting breast milk, I've been there and it's awful. You're doing a great job. A key indicator it's time to night wean is when they start to eat more at night then during the day, it's called reverse cycling. At this age we want to consume between 26-32 ounces in a 24 hour period, check with your Pediatrician, we want to focus on growing on a curve vs weight. Naps are great at 9am and 1pm just make bedtime no later than 7pm assuming both naps are 60-90mins plus. You don't have to wake her at 1.5 hours, cap nap 1 at 2 hours and nap 2 by 3:30pm to protect the sleep pressure headed into bedtime. Grab my 8 step night weaning guide and choose a sleep training method to apply to the night waking.


  • dreambabysleep
    dreambabysleep Member, Expert

    @Jane You're doing great. The 2 to 1 nap transition occurs between 14-19 months old, the longer you fight to keep 2 naps the easier the transition will be! Your timing has been working up to now but I suggest you offer nap 1 no later than 9am, nap 1 is actually not a nap but a continuation of night sleep which is why the awake period is so short. As long as baby is awake by 7:30am you're still good to go with nap 1 at 9am. nap 2 should start no later than 1pm. I have a great video on Instagram with step by step instructions for the 2 to 1 nap transition. DM me on Instagram 2 to 1 and I'll send it to you!


  • dreambabysleep
    dreambabysleep Member, Expert

    @Bosshammers Great question! 1-2 feeds at night up until 12 months of age is perfectly normal. The key to success is to not knee jerk feed as a solution to not being able to self soothe. We want to feed the nutritional need only. If you're on 1 scheduled night feed and it helps baby connect sleep cycles until awake for the day I vote you leave it alone. Focus on 2 naps a day at 9am and 1pm and bedtime no later than 7:30pm. Feel better soon, you're doing great! when you're ready to night wean grab my 8 step night weaning guide!


  • Leslie
    Leslie Member

    Hi! I have a 9 month old who successfully sleep trained around 7 months. She’ll still wake for feedings occasionally, but until this week had long stretches of 10-12 hours overnight sleep. She has a strict bedtime routine, goes down at 7pm on her own and previously would self soothe back to sleep after night wakings. Now that she’s close to crawling it’s as if she can’t get comfortable on her belly anymore and when she wakes she flails and can’t get back to sleep. She’s becoming overtired due to poor overnight sleep which is making both nap time and bed time harder. Any advice for babies at developmental milestones that are impacting sleep?

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