Israeli sleep coach, Batya Sherizen is taking questions from Kveller readers. Send your problems to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My 3-month-old is a restless sleeper. We have a consistent bedtime routine: we bathe him, I feed him, then we swaddle him and my husband sings to him until the baby is very drowsy. Then he goes in his co-sleeper and my husband stays with him until he falls asleep. He usually does a great job sleeping from 7:30 until 2 or 3 when he wakes up for a feeding. I know this is a wonderful amount of sleep for a baby this age. My question is about his restless sleep. He used to only be squirmy and somewhat gassy from the middle of the night feeding until the morning. Now he is restless and a little gassy almost all night. He is waking himself (and us) up. I give him back his pacifier and shush him until he falls back to sleep (I don’t pick him up unless he is hungry). Is there anything we can do to help him (and us) have a better night’s sleep?
It’s great that you have such a set routine in place for your baby. It sounds like he knows how to follow the proper cues to wind down for sleep and remain asleep. There is, however, a very common regression that occurs with babies typically at 4 months of age and it sounds like he is showing early signs of it (sorry to tell you this!). I would recommend doing the following two things to ensure his sleeping patterns remain as good as they’ve been and continue to improve:
1) For a 3-month-old, swaddling can sometimes be more detrimental than helpful. As he’s learning to roll over and get himself comfortable, the swaddle can prevent him from doing this. Begin introducing a half-swaddle (which is basically a swaddle over his body, but leaving his arms out). This will help him feel secure with his body, which is crucial for babies at this age and sleep, while at the same time enabling him to settle himself into a comfortable position.
2) Begin fine-tuning how he actually falls asleep. Even though he settles to sleep on his own, it seems he is unable to transition from sleep cycle to sleep cycle in the night. Pacifiers can be a baby’s best friend, but depending on circumstances, it’s not always so conducive for healthy sleeping. It seems he has become completely dependent on it and your presence in the night. Therefore, try teaching him to fall asleep without it by calming/touching/patting and repeating the process when he wakes, unless obviously it’s time to feed him.
By incorporating these two ideas, his night sleep should drastically improve within a few week’s time. Good luck!
Contact Batya and mention you saw her on Kveller for a free phone consultation! www.BatyatheBabyCoach.com