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Q&A with Sleep Wise Consultant, Sarah Cowden


I sat down with Sarah Cowden, who is a pediatric sleep consultant with Sleep Wise Consulting, to talk about all the sleep issues. During our Live Q&A on Instagram, check it out on my instagram page under Reels- Series, we discussed everything from preventing newborns flat spots to limited screen time for school aged kids.

Here are my show notes:

NEWBORN: @ Min 53:00


Figuring out days and nights – infant should only be awake for 45-60 min at a time


Swaddles: her favorites is the Love to Dream with arms up (makes dropping swaddle a bit easier) but most important is what your baby prefers

Drop swaddle at 8 weeks (way before they learn to roll)

Not a fan of the Merlin because just another thing you have to learn to drop


QUESTION:


How do you get your baby to not develop a flat head?


Preventing flat head by tummy time all day- using a carrier and avoiding the bouncer etc…

If you notice flat head, watch how babies head is tilted – tongue tie, tight neck, could be lingering issues


Routine is better than a strict schedule à EAT, PLAY, SLEEP and REPEAT!


INFANTS:


How do I get my baby to 12 hours?


Sleep training can begin around 3 months

Wake Windows are most important (learn them!)

Bed times will fluctuate

Sleep regressions at 4 month is the most tricky but not because it’s a true regression but because it’s a progression and they are learning adult sleeping techniques

Developmental milestones will also create regressions


Don’t put your kids down drowsy- put them down awake


Typically 12 lbs = 12 hours or sleeping through night


If your nursing, try to give your baby one bottle a day… especially the bedtime feed.


INFANT HOT TIPS:

PUT DOWN AWAKE, NOT DROWSY!

GET RIGHT WAKE WINDOW

CHECK ENVIRONMENT: SOUND MACHINE – WHITE NOISE, STATIC (DOME SOUND MACHINE) WITH 55 DECIBELS (DOWNLOAD DECIBEL METER), 3 FEET FROM BED

DARK ROOM WITH BLACK OUT CURTAINS


TODDLERS: at MIN 31:00


QUESTION: 14 month old still co-sleeps/nurses to sleep. Should I wait to stop BF before transitioning to crib?

-NO, you don’t have to. At this age, it will be a tough transition to break the sleep to feed associations.


QUESTION: at min 30:00

My 2 year old is climbing out of the crib - tips please!!

-USE A SLEEP SACK,TURN CRIB AROUND, TRY A PACK N PLAY

-SAFETY IS TOP PRIORITY

-SHE RECOMMENDS GOING TO A REAL BED WHICH A HIGHER AWAY FROM GROUND BUT HAVING FOAM OR INFLATABLE BUMPERS UNDER THE SHEETS


-IF HAVING SLEEP ISSUES, DO NOT MOVE TO BIG BED!


QUESTION:

Are wake windows still important for my almost 2 year old?

-Not as important but the time after nap should be 5-7 HOUR WINDOW ! with naps not to exceed 1-1.5 hours.



QUESTION: at min 23:30

My 3 year old is having nightmares- what do I do?


See if they are overtired first --> OVERTIREDNESS CAN INCREASE NIGHTMARES

Validate their feelings, and if they want to talk about it then address it at night and reassure them they are safe!

CHECK IF CHILD IS ON MEDICATION TO SEE IF MEDICATION IS INTERFERING WITH SLEEP.

AVOID SCARY BOOKS, CHARACTERS, SHOWS, GAMES….

For more detail check out,

Sleepwiseconsulting.com blog on night terrors


QUESTION: at min 20:00

My 4 year old shows up in our bed at night and sometimes we don't even notice for a while because he is so sneaky.... any tips?


- Use a clock – either the OK TO WAKE CLOCK or a real clock if they know their numbers and tell them they can only come out if hand is on the 7

-Get a red light – red means bed; green light (the HATCH is a good one for this)

-jingle bells on the kids door or adults door so they want to avoid making noise

-shutting door all the way

-she does not recommend locking kid in their room

-give your kid one of your t-shirts that smells like you -its like a “magic hug”

-have a conversation with him about why he is coming in….



SCHOOL AGE KIDS


QUESTION:

I have older kids (5 & 7) and it takes me over an hour to get them to go to sleep/fall asleep etc... and is exhausting process…any tips?


-Consistent bedtime routine!!

-power down hour- NO SCREENS an hour before bedtime

-deep breathing videos- kids meditation - yoga nidra audio

- no milk after the last snack of day

-how are they falling asleep – what do they need to go to sleep? Any sleep aids should be simplified!

-one on one time can help



BIG TAKEAWAYS: at MIN 11


-TRY THINGS FOR MORE THAN 1 NIGHT (3-5 DAYS OF CONSISTENCY)

-DO NOT COMPARE YOUR KIDS TO OTHERS (WHETHER THEY ARE SIBLINGS OR FRIENDS KIDS)

-WHEN YOU DROP THE NAP, PUT DOWN EARLIER FOR BEDTIME UNTIL ADJUSTED


WHEN TO DROP THE NAP,


2 to 1 naps --> around 13 months

Drop last nap --> round 3 year old


RESOURCES:


@sleepwiseconsulting on Instagram



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