How ‘Wake Windows’ Help Babies Sleep

Sleep can be so hard to come by in the early days of parenthood, and many parents will try anything and everything to help their babies sleep better. A pediatric sleep consultant shares her best tips, as well as information on infant sleep cycles, sleep regressions and what your baby's time awake has to do with how well they sleep.

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Episode Transcript

Natalie Gross 0:11
Will I ever sleep again? It's one of the first questions you ask yourself as a new mom, isn't it? Sleep can be so hard to come by in the early days of parenthood and many of us will try anything and everything to help our babies sleep better. Well, that's what we're here for. Today we'll be talking with first time moms and an experienced pediatric sleep consultant about infant sleep and strategies to help your baby sleep better so you can get some rest, too. This is Newbies.

Natalie Gross 0:40
Welcome to Newbies. Newbies is our online, on-the-go support group guiding new mothers through their baby's first year. I'm Natalie Gross, mom to a three-year-old boy and a brand new baby girl. We've got a great show today talking about how to help our babies sleep. Now if you haven't already, be sure to visit our website at and subscribe to our weekly newsletter which keeps you updated on all the episodes we release each week. Another great way to stay updated is to hit that subscribe button in your podcast app. And if you're looking for a way to get even more involved with our show, then check out our membership club called Mighty moms. That's where we chat more about the topics discussed here on the show. And it's also an easy way to learn about a recording so that maybe you can join us live. I want to introduce our panel of guests today we have Liz Munyon, Mary Goehler and Susan Lattuca. You may remember Susan from a recent episode on pacifier she was one of our mom guests, but she is back to lend her expertise on this topic of sleep as well. So Susan, welcome back to the show. Do you want to kick us off with an introduction?

Susan Lattuca 2:14
Happy to. Thank you so much kindly for having me back on. It is always a pleasure talking with you. And one day we need to get coffee. For the listeners: Hello, my name is Susan Lattuca, and I'm a pediatric sleep consultant with Susan's Sleep Solutions. I've been a consultant for over a year now. And prior to that I was a kindergarten teacher for 14 years. I am a mama myself to two little girls, one who is seven years old, and the other one who's two and a half. My story is so much like so many other stories. When we brought our first baby home, we didn't know what we were doing. And we muddled our way through and somehow got her to be a good sleeper. And I have no idea how that happened. But our second was such a different story. And we needed a lot of help. And so our journey with the challenges of sleep with our second is what brought me to become a sleep consultant. We worked with someone and it was so powerful to me and I wanted to help other families. So here we are.

Natalie Gross 3:10
Awesome. I'm so glad you're here, Susan. Welcome back. All right, Mary and Liz, tell us a little bit about you and your families.

Mary Goehler 3:18
Hi, I'm happy to be here. Thank you for having me, Natalie. So I am married and me and my husband have a nine month old daughter.

Liz Munyon 3:27
I have been married to my husband about 11 years and we just welcomed our son home about 10-ish weeks ago. So I am right at the beginning of all of this.

Natalie Gross 3:43
Yeah, we figured out before the recording that Liz and I have babies about a day apart. So we are in the trenches together on this one. So we're here to talk about baby sleep like we've said already, so mamas, how are your babies sleeping currently? Liz, how's it going over there?

Liz Munyon 3:59
You know, I actually have no complaints at the moment. This little man, at night he sleeps like a champ daytime is a whole otherbeast but yeah, at night he is out like light. And he's great in that aspect of it. It's just during the day sometimes it'd be nice to get a little break once in a while.

Natalie Gross 4:22
I hear you there. Mary, what about you? What's been your experience with with your daughter sleep?

Mary Goehler 4:28
Yeah, similar situation. So she has been sleeping through the night, probably since like three or four months. And it's, you know, she's gotten sick a couple of times. So of course that has changed sleep for a little bit, but she's sleeping through the night now. But naps have never been easy. She's down to two naps and like we have good days but I cannot for the life of me get her to nap for more than like an hour to an hour and a half at a time. And usually one of her naps is short and so yeah, that's where I'm at.

Natalie Gross 5:00
Did you go through the the sleep regressions that everyone talks about?

Mary Goehler 5:04
I don't know that I went through regressions per se besides when she was sick, then she regressed, of course. Yeah, I'm not so sure about that. But naps have been hard.

Natalie Gross 5:15
Yeah. All right. Well, we're gonna talk about that and more. When we come back, we're going to be chatting with Susan Lattuca. She's going to be sharing some strategies and insight to help your babies sleep better, including what your baby's time awake has to do with their time asleep. Stay with us.

Natalie Gross 5:35
We are continuing our discussion on sleep today with our expert Susan Lattuca. And as she mentioned, she's a sleep consultant. She's based in the Washington DC area. And she helps parents of newborns infants, toddlers and preschoolers as well as expectant parents really around the world. Susan has a bachelor's degree in child psychology from Miami University and a master's in early childhood from American University. You already heard that she was a classroom teacher for a while. So she has lots of experience helping kids and parents through challenging situations. So, Susan, to start, can you give us a rundown of what a sleep consultant is? What exactly do you do?

Susan Lattuca 6:09
Yes. And that's a great question that the idea of a sleep consultant is really new for so many people I know, I hadn't heard of one until we needed one. So as a sleep consultant, it's actually the answer actually varies based on the age of your child and where you are in your parenting journey. So for expecting parents, I help educate them about healthy sleep habits, sleep basics for their incoming newborn, such as how to set the nursery that that's optimal for sleep, how to build a really great routine, and how to watch those sleeping cues and to work with Wake windows, which I know we'll talk about in a little bit. For families of newborns, it's again, mostly educational, but we got we work through how to help your child get to sleep on their own without creating sleep associations, such as being rocked or held. And then for older babies, and toddlers and preschoolers, usually the work is helping parents to dissociate a sleep crash. There's a lot of information on the internet, and it can be really overwhelming of you know what to do, and how to tackle whether there's a sleep challenge. And so I've worked with families one on one, I create personalized plans for the child and the family that tells them exactly what to do, and how to do it. So there's really no guesswork. And we've worked together for about two to three weeks or until we meet the family sleep goals, which vary by family by family. And one of the best things about my work is that it's completely virtual. I could do it from anywhere. So I have a current client in Switzerland and one in Germany. So it's really neat how this work is it really is a global. It's a global career. That's really, really fun when I work with families from all over the world.

Natalie Gross 7:45
Yeah, that's really awesome. Moms everywhere going through it.

Susan Lattuca 7:48
Yes, that's right. Yes. It's universal.

Natalie Gross 7:52
Yeah. Well, I think it's safe to say that one of the goals of early motherhood is to have your baby sleep through the night. And, you know, like the other moms have said, I've been really fortunate we have a great sleeper. Again, naps are another story. I think that's a common thread here. But at what stage is sleeping through the night a realistic expectation or really hope for parents?

Susan Lattuca 8:12
Yes, I love this question. And I have to say that you know, for Liz and Mary that is so amazing that their babies are sleeping really, really well. And for some babies, that is true. And for lots of babies, that is not true. You know, for sleeping through the night. I think one of the things that I like to caution people on it, I feel like we have this kind of unrealistic expectation that is brought about by by social media and just simple if students are babies are born people are asking us well, how are they sleeping? Right? Like it's the first question that people ask. And there's also this notion that's 12 hours by 12 weeks, right? You've probably heard that. And I think that sets us up for some unrealistic expectations, which can ultimately cause some parents to feel like like failures or to have anxiety because well wait a minute, my baby's not sleeping 12 hours, like 12 weeks, like what am I doing wrong? So the idea of sleeping through the night we needed to find what sleeping through the night is and so when I think about as a sleep consultant, when I think about what sleeping through the night is it's going to vary between eight hours and 12 hours getting that eight hour stretch of time that is free from wakeups free from feedings to meet at a sleeping through the night. And when you think about like the eight hour, the 10 hour and the 12 hours. You know, an eight hour stretch for multiple babies can usually give you an eight hour stretch sometimes three months or babies can but usually we see the eight hour stretch coming around the four month mark. And then beyond that, you know it's usually the six month mark when we see that 10 to 12 hour stretches. But more than age, especially when we're thinking about those nighttime feeds, whether that's breastfeeding or bottle feeding. When babies are ready to drop those nighttime feeds instead of age we actually look at weight as a marker. So babies who are 13 pounds or 5.6 kilograms often are able to drop that feed because metabolically they are ready. So that gives you a wide range. Some babies at four months who are, you know, a bit on the heavier side, they're more ready to drop fees, and maybe a slimmer, six, seven or eight month old baby. So there is a various range but I would say you know, four months you could be getting an eight hour stretch six months is usually when you can get see those full 10 to 12 hour, really restorative stretches restorative for both the baby and for you to get that full night's sleep.

Natalie Gross 10:39
Okay, interesting. Thank you. Well, when I had my oldest three and a half years ago, one of the best tips that I learned about was something called wake windows and how that actually correlated to sleep. So can you explain what wake windows are? I know we've touched on it a little bit already. But that's kind of a term that's thrown out there a lot, and I'm not sure if everyone totally understands what that means.

Susan Lattuca 10:58
Yes, absolutely. Wake windows are so important. And there have been so many advances in pediatric sleep just in the last seven to 10 years. And I don't think I had ever heard about wake windows until after my second was born. And I definitely had not heard of them when I first was born. That probably would have been really, really helpful if I had known about them. So wake windows are simply the time your baby is awake between sleeps. This can vary based on the age because when you think about his little little babies, think about your baby, there's 11 week old babies, there's not a whole lot of stamina that they have, you know, stamina is something that has to be grown, it has to be nurtured. And sleep like so many other things is incredibly important in regulating our hormones and eventually our circadian rhythm. So a good wake window is going to catch your baby, when they have built up enough sleep pressure, that drive that makes us want to fall asleep and stay asleep. But not gone past that point and to being overtired. It's kind of a dance. It's kind of like Goldilocks, you want to hit it just right. And being overtired has a ripple effect that can put out hormones like cortisol, which is our stress hormone, and our awake hormone. And when babies miss that just right window, they they get overtired, our brain starts sending messages like something is wrong, you have to stay awake, because our survival depends on it. And cortisol and adrenaline start pumping. And those two hormones make it really hard to fall asleep. So oftentimes you hear of babies or children having a second wind, but you know, they're so tired, but they're just not going to sleep. And this is exactly what this is the child has entered over tired and those hormones are coursing through their bodies. So wake windows is the optimal time that your baby should stay awake and should also find sleep when they've put in them when they're put down to sleep, you should find sleep somewhat easily, you should be able to go to sleep in about 10 minutes or so. And it's you know, wake windows are just so important in regulating the body's schedule, both from the hormone standpoint as well as getting the sleep that they need during the day. And as the moms said, as Liz and Mary shared, you know, the day times that nights are generally easier. But those day times are a different story a day times are just much more tricky. Because wake windows can meet trial and error. And it's a process it takes time to find your child's just right week window. And you know, every baby has different needs. So your 11 week old baby's wake window may just like be slightly different than another 11 week old baby. So it can be really, really challenging to find that wake window. But wake windows are just that much important to kind of keep your your baby's body from being overtired. So that they can find sleep.

Natalie Gross 13:43
Yeah. Okay. Can you take us through the wake window goals, you know, by age? Is it by month?

Susan Lattuca 13:50
Yeah, that's a great question. Um, so I can definitely send you a graphic so that you can put it in the show notes. But basically, you know, as babies grow both physically and cognitively, their stamina grows with them. And of course, understanding that the first year of life, there's so much growth that happens and so those wake windows do grow pretty quickly, pretty significantly. So newborns until six weeks of age are usually looking at a 45 to 60 minute wake window. And when I say awake window that include from when they wake up to go to sleep. So this includes your feeding, and it includes your diaper, and it includes any play time. So thinking about a newborn 45 to 60 minutes, and if you're feeding them for 20 minutes, you're not really having a whole lot of interactive time. So that's something to keep in mind that they really do sleep most of the time, a newborn sleep about 18 hours of the 24. So they're asleep, the majority of the time, at six weeks until 12 weeks that stretches to be about an hour to an hour and 45. Again, we have that range because every baby is different. from three months to six months. It's usually an hour and a half to two hours of awake Times, from six months to nine months, about two to three hours, at nine to 12 months, it's going to be more along the three hour timeframe. And then 12 to 18 months, you're looking at three to four hours and then 18 months. So that year and a half mark, you can usually get that four to five, sometimes either five and a half or six hours wake windows.

Natalie Gross 15:21
Okay, interesting. Well, we hear the phrase never wake a sleeping baby a lot. But I'm curious if that's actually good advice. And to kind of give a personal example here, you know, we actually do struggle with naps, but she was taking a really long nap yesterday, my daughter was and so she was about to go past the recommended two to three hour feeding mark. So I was worried it was gonna mess with her bedtime. Should I have gotten her up or let her keep sleeping? She was content. And this is a question that comes up a lot among my mom friends. So I'm curious to ask the expert here.

Susan Lattuca 15:51
Yes, so there are times you are going to need to wake a sleeping baby, and you've named a couple of them that one for those special, especially for those little ones. When it's time for a feeding, you're going to need to wake them up. Now some you know, depending on how much your baby weighs, and depending on the health of your baby, you may not need to wake them up overnight, necessarily. But those daytime feeds are so important. So if it's going to end their sleeping is going to impact a too big of a time between their feedings, it definitely might be something to wake up. You want to take a look at how much sleep they're getting throughout the day. And sometimes too much sleep during the day can impact nighttime sleep. So you know you will you'll want to take a look at those naps to see you know how much sleep has she gotten today during the day. And if it's kind of edging up on on the max daytime sleep for her then yeah, go ahead and wake her up. And then second of all, I thought sorry, Third of all, you know, usually naps don't go past two hours two hours is kind of like a nice round number that keeps babies on track by giving that nice restorative sleep time two hours is a significant amount of time. And it keeps them on track for their feedings it keeps them on track for their next week window and for their next step. So that their nighttime and then bedtime is not impacted too greatly.

Natalie Gross 17:09
Thank you, Susan, that was so much great information. Well, we're going to take another quick break, and when we come back, we're going to keep hearing from Susan, obviously, and then bring back our mom's Liz and Mary.

Natalie Gross 17:25
Welcome back to our discussion on sleep. So moms, do you have any thoughts on what we've just heard from Susan? Had you heard about wake windows before?

Mary Goehler 17:32
Yeah, I definitely have. And they're tricky. That was a lot of super helpful information. I appreciate all that. Yeah, it's just hard. And not to say that this is like a recommendation I would give for moms. But something that I found with Mabel, my daughter — she just turned nine months old, so she would be around the three hour wake window right now. Interestingly enough, she went I guess you could say she went through regression at one point where she would not she kept waking up two hours after I put her down, even though she had been sleeping through the night for months before this, and I could not for the life of me figure out why. And one of my mom friends randomly said that her rule for her kids was 2-3-4 for wake windows. So first week window two hours, second one, three, the last one for and so I thought okay, like I'll try it and come to find out. My daughter needs four hours before bed or she'll she won't sleep for the night. So it took weeks of trial and error to figure that out. And so I guess that's just to say, like, for any moms that are struggling like it's okay, like, except that you're not going to get it right. The first, like 10 times.

Natalie Gross 18:48
Yeah, no, I mean, that's parenthood right? Trial and error. I don't know about you guys. That's how I feel. Liz, have you tried wake windows at all? Is that something of a concept you are familiar with?

Liz Munyon 19:01
Yeah, I was somewhat familiar with it before our son came home just because I worked in a daycare for four years as an infant and toddler teachers. So I was pretty familiar with the whole concept of kind of awake windows, maybe not necessarily that terminology for it. But it's definitely a whole different beast when it's your own kid. And you're sitting there trying to figure out what his wake window actually is. Is he actually tired? Is he ready to go down for another nap? Because he likes to pretend that he's sleepy. And then of course, as soon as you put him down, he's right back up. And just for us as well. I know that I didn't mention this earlier, but he's actually adopted. So for us during the day, we're trying to do a lot of the contact with him and he doesn't like to be apart from us during the day. So that's been the fun part with it as well. It's okay, well, is he actually ready to go to sleep or does he just want to snuggle All, I can't quite tell right now which one it is. So that's just been kind of fun just trying to figure that out and figuring out when he's actually awake, we're starting to get into a bit of a routine that as we all know, as soon as they get into routine, he's going to change it up on us. We we all know this is coming.

Natalie Gross 20:17
True. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Well, you know, Susan, and then Mary, I don't know if you have any, you know, practical advice almost a year in here. But what are some tips for stretching those wake windows? Like, what if your baby's just not having it, they want to sleep? What's some practical advice for trying to get them to stay awake just a little bit longer.

Susan Lattuca 20:37
Yeah, this is so tricky, right? Um, so you know, the two biggest tips is, you know, one natural light is so important. Again, there's that hormone regulation, that circadian rhythm. So getting outside and to natural light is going to be one of the best things that you can do, obviously, weather dependent, but you know, getting exposed to the sun and the fresh air and just being immersed in the outdoors is really impactful for you. Even if it's just a shock to the system of being outside. It's something right. And then also just the power of distraction, right, like trying to keep your baby focused on something else. So you know, depending on the age of your baby, that might be something sensory that might be, you know, like, playing in the grass, right, like touching the grass, and so forth. There's lots of different things, you can just do that distract, maybe it's giving them a bunch of different toys for like 15 minutes. But just something to kind of keep them occupied until you've gotten within a shot of your, your awake window, right? It's so no, wait, what is again, are not perfect, as we have been talking about a little bit. And so you know, if you're close enough to your wake window, and you've been trying for a long time to stretch that weak window to get on there, you're within about 15 minutes, minutes of it, and you can go ahead and give that a try. Right, because your baby is definitely giving you signs that they are ready. So at that point, go ahead and give your go ahead and give it a little bit a little bit early and let them go ahead and get some extra sleep.

Natalie Gross 22:06
Yeah. Mary, anything you've done that you want to share?

Mary Goehler 22:10
Yeah, I mean, even though it wasn't that long ago, I feel like I'm kind of far from like those early days when like, it was minutes that mattered, you know, like the 5, 10, 15 minutes of stretching? I do remember, I would read books sometimes, or just bring her to the window, like the natural light, like Susan was saying, I can definitely speak for now when her wake windows are really long. And I am a stay at home mom, also, so I feel like even just for my sanity, I just need ways to break up the day and having friends over, helps a lot just giving her other faces to look at people to interact with. That's huge. And, you know, taking her on walks is huge, like Susan saying that natural light and getting fresh air.

Natalie Gross 22:59
Well, we've talked a little bit about regressions. So maybe there are moms listening who are experiencing that, you know, four month regression, I feel like that's the one I always hear about. So how can we recover from regressions? I'll leave that to you, Susan. And then Mary, if you want to share, again, any practical advice there.

Susan Lattuca 23:17
Yes, so regressions, regressions, regressions. Oh, my goodness, always a regression, right. You know, there are very typical times and a child sleep that's going to be disrupted. And we know this because it's, it's been documented. And the biggest one that like the true regression that your child is going to go through is the dreaded four month regression. So that is a legitimate thing. And the reason for that is because as an infant, as a baby newborn infant, they only have two phases of sleep, and they spent 50% in each of those two phases, but then at four months, they're their sleep becomes reorganized to be like yours in mind. And we actually have four phases of our sleep cycle. So at the four month, their sleep is completely reorganized, and naturally it is going to cause some disruption. And so babies who are struggling to put themselves back to sleep may wake up more and need more assistance back to sleep. So four months is a time where so many parents reach out to me and are, you know, are just talking on the money blogs about you know, how do you get through it. And at four months, the way to get through that is to make sure your child is able to fall asleep on their own. So not being relaxed, not rely on anything external, such as being rocked or being are being fed to sleep, anything that is, you know, that's not of their own to fall asleep. So that's what, that's how to get through that regression. The other regressions that we talked about, are, you know, pretty predictable. And when babies learn new skills, any new skill babies learn is gonna take a couple of days to kind of like be filed away in your brain. And so when you think about Oh, you know when babies do these big skills, right, so like six months, babies might be sitting up that might cause a couple of nights of unrest. Nine months, they might start doing some more crawling 12 months, they're doing more walking 15 months, their language is booming, they're gonna start stringing some words together 18 months or sentences are getting more complex. And at 24 months, there isn't huge cognitive and verbal vocabulary boom. So thinking about these cognitive leaps that are happening in your baby's brain, it's there is a way for their brain is reorganizing and filing things away and processing all this information. And a byproduct of all that amazing learning that they're doing is unfortunately, they're going to have some blips and their sleep. And regressions, you know, can cause a couple more night wakings. But usually, regressions don't last longer than two weeks, usually there are about 10 or so days, 10 to 14 days. And so if you're seeing your child sleeping impacted for longer than that, it might be take it might be worthwhile to take a closer look to see exactly what's going on. But you know, there are some expected time but we're gonna see some blips, right, and are so many people say, Oh, it's the regression, and it's the 12 month regression, it's the 15 month regression, right? And where I see families getting into trouble during the regressions and was is when they change how they respond to baby. And this is, of course, very well intentioned. You know, if your baby's waking up extra times, you're thinking my baby needs me they need something, I can help out his walker to sleep or feed or to sleep justice once. And that changing of expectations can set off a chain reaction for your baby. Babies are so smart, and they're saying whoa, I just got something really special, right? This is amazing. So guess what I'm going to want that again, best thing you can do is to don't change what you've been doing to get your baby to sleep do not change your response. All humans and babies are no different. They're small humans. All humans like predictability. They like consistency. And they do like boundaries, all those things make us and babies feel secure and cared for. So when you are having those really exceptionally rough nights and you're thinking it might be a regression don't change what you're doing. Don't change how you've gotten your baby back to sleep, because regressions will end over time. And so just keep on going with what you are doing to kind of get through it. And if they if the trouble still lasts beyond that, that might be something to take a closer look at.

Natalie Gross 27:26
Liz, that's what we have to look forward to — that four month.

Liz Munyon 27:29
I have been absolutely dreading it. I like my sleep. I know. Yeah. Well, he's hasn't even been interested in trying to roll over yet. So I think I have a little bit of time. But yeah, definitely nervous.

Natalie Gross 27:44
You know, that's actually a question, Susan, that we should talk about. When it comes to sleep. A lot of parents start swaddling their newborns. When is that a time that you need to kind of switch that up? Take them out of the swaddle into a regular sleep sack?

Susan Lattuca 27:59
Yeah, another great question. So swaddling is so important. And it's so recommended for our newborns. Right. So swaddling is definitely a great thing. It mimics the womb, that tightness, that closeness, that snuggly feeling, to swaddling, it's fantastic. Usually, you know, every baby is different. But usually between eight weeks and 12 weeks, it's time to start transitioning out of the swaddle. And this is mostly because of safety reasons, right? Babies at this point can start to roll over. And the concern is that they're there, their arms might be a trap. And so when they roll over, they get stuck. And we don't we don't want that. So and then we're starting to get more active and more exploratory, and they want to self soothe, and oftentimes that involves their hands, and moving their feet and moving their arms around in different ways. So finding ways are comfortable for them. So between eight and 12 weeks is a time to start getting into a sleep sack or a transitional swaddle with their arms out. And that can be really scary for a lot of parents whose babies are sleeping really well and this nice, snuggly little swaddle and then all of a sudden their baby's arms are out and the baby doesn't know what to do with it. And then parents are just like, are, you know, the sleep, the sleep changes, the sleep has the potential to change for that. But yeah, between eight and 12 weeks is the ideal time to transition out of the swaddle.

Natalie Gross 29:21
Okay, yeah, I also heard like when they're when they're rolling and stuff. So my daughter rolled for the first time today, I'm like, No, I I need my sleep. Selfishly, right. Yeah, well, so there might be parents out there listening who are afraid they might have missed the boat on helping their little one sleep or maybe they've tried every strategy we've talked about and things are just not clicking. What might be some signs that it's time to get outside help and look for sleep consultant?

Susan Lattuca 29:49
So you know, it's important to know that if something's working for your family, then that's great. So if you know families, if you're happy nursing to sleep or rocking to sleep, and it's not causing problems for your little one or for you, and there's no reason to fix it, every family and parents is different. And it's important to honor that. But I also want to add that sleep is a skill and it comes naturally for some and not as naturally. For others, it's just like playing soccer or singing or eventually reading, and sleep can be taught. So when your baby can't go to sleep with out is really relying on something external and can't go to sleep without being rocked or held. Or you're having to rock them for hours just to get a 45 minute stretch of sleep, or your baby has to be fed multiple times a night just to go back to sleep, or is only taking naps when they're in the car or in the stroller when they are only when they were relying on that thing to get into sleep. And they were not able to do it on their own. And those things are not working for you, then it's time to seek some help. And there's lots of different methods of help there's Do It Yourself methods, there's consultant like me methods, there are ways to get the help that your family needs to teach your baby how to have independent sleep skills falling asleep on their own, so that they can get the sleep that they need and so that you can get back to the sleep that you deserve.

Natalie Gross 31:15
Yeah. Well, as we get ready to wrap up here, mamas. Do you have any questions for our expert here? We have her. Whe's all yours.

Liz Munyon 31:24
So I guess you know, my biggest thing. I think, Mary, you mentioned this too. For us. It's those daytime ones. Is there anything that we can do to help stretch those naps during the day? Besides, you know, just just the weak windows? Is there anything we should be doing to help set us up for success for during those daytime naps?

Susan Lattuca 31:44
Yeah, another great question. So wake windows are going to be your first thing to check is awake windows. And also keep you know, thinking about the what you're doing during the wake windows as well, you know, putting the baby in a rocker is very different than actually stimulating the baby and reading to them or playing with toys and things like that something that is going to like you know, cognitively wear them out or physically wear them out a little bit. So think about what's happening during that wake time to kind of you know, get them a little bit more ready for sleep. And you know, it's 45 minutes is a very typical nap, especially for four months and older 45 minutes is a very common nap, that is one sleep cycle. Right. And so you know, that takes time to lengthen. And if children have babies have the ability to fall asleep on their own, that's just something that they're going to have to practice putting that those two sleep cycles together, and having the time and space to be able to try putting those sleep cycles together. So when your child wakes up from a short nap of 45 minutes or so, leave them in the crib for about 15 minutes and see what they do this gives them the chance to put themselves back to sleep. And so you know, giving them the time and space to do that is important. And you know, the other biggest thing is just not to not to give up, just keep on trying. Because, you know, as you've noted, it's just really, really hard to get babies to sleep well, right. And so just have some, you know, have some grace for yourself, have some grace for your babies. And you know, think you know, and really, maybe really dig a little bit deeper into, you know, how are they falling asleep? And is there an issue with that and why they are not able to connect the sleep cycles. And if there isn't an issue of like they're relying on something else, it's just a matter of giving them that practice to conduct those sleep cycles to elongate those naps into those beautiful 80, 90, 100 minute naps that we so crave.

Mary Goehler 33:40
How realistic is it to have like a consistent nap schedule where it's like, I know, they go to sleep at this time and this time every day, and they usually sleep for about this time?

Susan Lattuca 33:53
Awesome. Yes, this is my favorite questions to tackle. So we've spent a lot of time talking about wake windows. And those wake windows are really important especially for the little babies, a little babies, you know, usually about seven months or younger. Once your baby reaches roughly seven or eight months when they start going into the to nap a day. At that point, you can be more regimen regulated into a set schedule. And set schedules are actually my preferred way to do things with babies of eight months or older because it does, there's a circadian rhythm thing that's going in there and our body clock just get very used to doing things at a certain time. Right? Which is why the time change is so not I want to eat at like, you know, time to mess was to eat, but no babies are no different. And so, you know, when your baby starts being on two naps, that is when you can start thinking about a set schedule. And you want to know if your baby is ready for that. You want to see are they waking up at a consistent time. So you know if your baby's consistently waking up at seven o'clock in the morning plus or minus 30 minutes so 630 and 730 you know kind of that that cushion around that Seven o'clock timeframe, that's all considered on time. So if your baby's waking up at a consistent time in the morning, then that's an indication that yes, they could probably handle a set schedule. So for a to nap, baby, it could look something like seven o'clock wake, a 10 o'clock nap. And that first nap is going to be roughly an hour and a half. So 10 to 11:30. Your second nap is going to be around 2:30 for about an hour. And then your, your last week window getting from that 3:30 mark, until seven o'clock is going to be your biggest stretch of time. So as to two naps a day with a consistent wake up time is what you're looking for when putting your baby on a set schedule. And it usually works really, really well. Because then they have a time to have their schedule and their body clocks completely regulated.

Mary Goehler 35:46
Love to hear that. Yeah.

Natalie Gross 35:49
I know, I'm trying to remember, you know, for my first when it was that we were on some sort of schedule where I could count on, you know what time he would be napping. And so I'm glad you asked that Mary.

Susan Lattuca 36:00
That can make a really big impact on on parents, you know. I know like, I mean, I have, I have an anxiety just generally. And you know, my postpartum anxiety was just rampant with both my babies. And I know that I was just like, I crave that control. I crave that like, need to know like, when's my baby falling asleep? And I kept on asking my friend, like, you know, my baby's four weeks, like, what's the schedule? She's like, What are you talking about, there is no schedule at four weeks, right? And so it is kind of you know, and I think week windows are helpful and kind of having some predictability, even though there's variability as well with that. But once you start getting into those predict those scheduled set schedules, it can be a really, really nice thing, right? Because then you can start just kind of planning your day just a little bit differently. And it's fun to be able to plan around it and just have that predictability for you know, for as a mom, my, for my own anxiety. It's like, okay, I know these two things. I got that down, it makes me feel so much happier.

Natalie Gross 37:00
Yeah, yeah. Well, as we wrap up, I want to leave our listeners with some encouragement or some hope maybe for moms going through, you know, short, short sleeps, or those regressions, short naps, like we talked about.

Susan Lattuca 37:15
Yeah. So remember that sleep is not linear, there are going to be bumps, there's going to be hiccups. Once you figured it out, your baby's going to change it on you. Even in the best sleepers. So you know, keep ongoing change can happen. If you want change, change can happen at any time. At any age, there's no too late to get the help or support that your baby needs to get the sleep that they need. Sleep is a skill, you haven't done anything wrong. And some babies are just more natural sleepers than others. So if you're having a hard time, your baby's having a hard time sleeping, remember, you haven't done anything wrong, there's sometimes there's just they just need to be taught a bit differently. And I firmly believe that families and parents are doing exactly what they can with what they have to be the best parents that they can be for their baby. And I don't think that we hear as often as we should that you're doing great. You are enough, you're not alone. And there is support if and when you need it.

Natalie Gross 38:11
Mary or Liz, did you have anything you wanted to add?

Mary Goehler 38:14
Yeah, I mean, second all of that, like, I wish Susan was around first few months. Yeah, I would just say like, I would encourage you to be patient with the process and enjoy your baby. Because I think it can be really easy. At least for me, it was easy to get really obsessive about it. And like there's definitely a place to be learning and trying to apply his practical tips for the health of you and your baby. But just enjoy your baby and embrace the season.

Liz Munyon 38:53
I guess I don't have too much more to add, since I'm kind of at the beginning of all of this. But I can say that all of this has been super helpful in just letting me know that we are on the right track and that there is not anything that's necessarily completely normal at this point. And he doesn't have to be on a set schedule for a while. And that makes me feel a whole lot better about where we're headed.

Natalie Gross 39:21
Good. Good. Awesome, ladies. Well, thank you so much all of you for joining me today. Listeners, you can find more information about Susan's business at Susan' And be sure to check out our podcast episodes videos and more at

Natalie Gross 39:49
That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Newbies. Don't forget to check out our sister shows Preggy Pals for expecting parents, Parent Savers for moms and dads with toddlers, The Boob Group for moms who give breast milk to their babies and Twin Talks for parents of multiples. Thanks for listening to Newbies, your go-to source for new moms and new babies.

Disclaimer 40:14
This has been a New Mommy Media Production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of new mommy media and should not be considered facts. Will such information and materials are believed to be accurate. It is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating healthcare problem or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health, or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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