Life with Baby Podcast with guest, Rebecca Michi

Parenting is a journey filled with sleepless nights and endless questions. But what if you could turn bedtime drama into dreamland?  

In this episode, our host chats with Rebecca Michi, a children’s sleep consultant who’s been waving her magic wand for nearly 30 years, making sleep a dream come true for families.   

From the importance of understanding your child’s unique sleep needs to debunking myths about bedtime routines, Rebecca shares insights that will help you and your little one rest easy. 

What We Discuss

0:00 Introduction

1:09 Sleep Expert Superhero Origin Story

2:50 When Will Baby Sleep Through the Night?

7:57 Sleep Regression 101

11:46 Practice Makes Perfect

14:45 Swaddling Sleep Benefits

17:44 Co-Sleeping vs. Bed-Sharing

21:52 Is It Safe to Nap in a Baby Carrier?

23:37 Bouncer Tricky Transfer

26:23 How to Dress Baby for Sleep

27:13 Sleep Routine Success

31:14 Safe Sleep Practice Tips

33:01 Everything is Going to Change

35:05 Takeaways

Resources + Show Notes 

Ergobaby | ergobaby.cominstagram.com/ergobabytiktok.com/@ergobabyofficial 

Rebecca Michi | childressleepconsultant.cominstagram.com/childrens_sleep_consultant

Ergobaby Swaddle 

Ergobaby Carriers 

Ergobaby Bouncer

Transcript

(0:00) Introduction

[Baby crying]

I want to sleep with my mom.

[Brandi]

Let’s talk about sleep for a second. What if you could turn bedtime drama into dreamland?

[Brandi]

Hello everyone and welcome to the Life with Baby podcast. I’m your host, Brandy Sellers-Jackson, and I’m so excited to speak with our guest today, Rebecca Michi. She is going to make our life with baby so much easier.

Oh my gosh. Rebecca is a children’s sleep consultant and author specializing in gentle no-cry sleep support for families with children under six years old. With nearly 30 years of experience, she’s helped thousands of families turn drama, because kids can bring the drama, into dreamland.

She is a mom of two kids who are in college and lives in Seattle with her husband and German shepherd. Welcome, Rebecca. How are you?

[Rebecca]

I’m very good. Thank you.

(1:09) Sleep Expert Superhero Origin Story

[Brandi]

Did you have like sleep issues with your little ones? I mean, how did you get into this work?

[Rebecca]

So my background is in child development. I have a degree in child development. So I’ve worked with families in many different capacities for many, many years. And then I had my two children. I have a 14 month age gap between my two.

It seemed like a really good idea at the time, but just realistically, it was a little bit overwhelming. But I was convinced that after having one, which was certainly a challenge, that they were going to be the same. And it wasn’t.

They were just from day one, very, very different human beings. And then this became really evident with their sleep. They slept so very differently, depending on who they were, what their temperament was.

And I started my business just working generally just as a parent coach. And this was many, many years ago when it really wasn’t even a thing. And so many times I was working with families, and it was sleep.

We needed to figure sleep out. And so after this happened one too many times, I really needed to now focus on sleep. When I started, I was one of two children’s sleep consultants on the West Coast.

There were just a handful of us when I got started.

[Brandi]

Can I just say that you are saving lives? Not all superheroes wear capes.

I just want to put that out there for the parents. We are like, we salute you.

[Rebecca]

Thank you. I will accept a cape as well. I’m more than happy to wear a cape on a daily basis. Wonderful.

(2:50) When Will Baby Sleep Through the Night?

[Brandi]

All right. So we have a few questions. The first one is when will babies sleep through the night and how to, how do I get them there?

I know that’s a question that I still need to know. I’m just kind of asking for a friend. Friend is me.

How do we get them to sleep? We need them to sleep, Rebecca. Help us.

[Rebecca]

Okay. Let’s realistically look at what is normal when it comes to sleep. So humans, we all wake during the night. Waking up is completely normal and it’s something that we all do.

Anything up to 10 times a night is completely normal. So if you’re after a child who does not wake up during the night, that’s not going to happen. Then we want to look at what is normal for statistics of children being able to sleep the entire night without needing help, which is really what our sleeping through the night is, is not needing that help.

And there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Now, a lot of studies were done, the studies that you’ll read about, and you may be that you have been pointed out by well-meaning family members or potentially even your pediatrician.

[Brandi]

Gotta love ‘em. They’re so great. They’re just so wonderful.

[Rebecca]

Yeah. They’re always so open to share.

[Brandi]

So willing.

[Rebecca]

But there’s a lot of bad information. There’s a lot of these studies that were done that show a child should be, they’ve doubled their birth weight or they’ve reached three months old or four months old or insert random number here.

Those studies were done in the fifties and sixties. So a very, very long time ago, and they were done on very, very small groups of formula fed infants. Um, formula back in the fifties and sixties was very, very different than it is right now.

Think Thanksgiving dinner, kind of that real sleepy groggy feeling off.

[Brandi]

Which everyone’s going to sleep after Thanksgiving dinner.

[Rebecca]

Exactly. You just can’t help it. So these babies were were sleeping through the night from a very early age.

Looking at recent studies, it’s actually very, very different. Those studies in the fifties and sixties were saying it about three months old, about 12 weeks. We can expect a child to be able to sleep for between six to eight hours, which is actually class of sleeping through the night.

Recent studies, studies show us that only 22% of eight month olds are sleeping through the night. So it’s very, very different and then that just can, that increases as we get over a year old, but the waking up is really, really normal. And it sort of goes a bit up and down.

Three month olds are doing a little bit better actually than six month olds are when it comes to sleep. And it’s just sort of what we should really be expecting. So when a child is able to sleep through the night is when they are able to sleep through the night.

There’s lots of different factors that come into it. There is no definitive age. There’s a really real broad range.

Of course, there are some six week olds who were sleeping through the night. I don’t ever see these children, but they do exist. Apparently they’re out there.

Some of them are six weeks old, but then there were lots of children who are over a year old who are still needing help during the night. So both of those are completely normal.

[Brandi]

I love hearing this too, because what I hear you saying is to throw out these ideas of what normal looks like.

And it’s basically based around who your child is.

[Rebecca]

Yes.

[Brandi]

I love that.

I mean, I have three boys and all three of them slept, sleep, completely different. My oldest was sleeping through the night at four months, but he also was formula fed. Makes sense.

The second one, I think he was like three, two or three, before he started sleeping in his own bed. And then my last, the last emphasis on that, he’s five and he still finds his way into our bed. And I, I do know now that I have a senior in high school that at some point he’s not going to be in our bed, our 17 year old no longer sleeps in our bed.

So that is like the light at the end of the tunnel, you know, like at some point it’s going to shift.

[Rebecca]

Yes, definitely. It certainly will for every single child.

There’s that want that for independence and for, you know, for children who are still five, it’s, I guarantee he’s not going to go off to college and have to. I hope so anyway.

[Brandi]

Oh, it’s, I know that to be fact, it’s like now that my oldest it’s like, I would love for him to like snuggle with me. And he’s like, uh, bye.

[Rebecca]

Exactly. Yes. You just try and enjoy those snuggles when whilst you can, because they do get few and far between as your children get older.

[Brandi]

Absolutely.

(7:57) Sleep Regression 101

[Brandi]

Now this is a good one. This is a really good one because I feel like the four month sleep regression is something that I hear so much about that in the nine month.

So what’s the best way to handle those two things?

[Rebecca]

Great question.

[Brandi]

Help us.

[Rebecca]

Yes. Regressions. Uh, so there’s two reasons why we have regressions.

One is normal development. So going through a period of development, learning new skills. And then another reason we get a sleep regression is something big happening in your child’s life, starting daycare, moving house.

So that’s another reason that sleep can get really wonky and we can have a regression. There’s the four month one, which I think, I think is the, is the second most challenging sleep progression, uh, because you’re just beginning to feel settled in with sleep. You just sort of feel that, okay, I’ve got, you know, we’re, we’re finding our rhythm with, we’re getting a pattern here and then boom, it’s a straight four months.

[Brandi]

It’s a sick joke.

[Rebecca]

It’s just, yeah, it’s just, it’s not very pleasant because it will completely change sleep and it may not necessarily get back to what it was before, because there’s a big permanent change that’s happening with sleep, which is a normal developmental change going from infant sleep cycles to adult sleep cycles. Then there’s a six month one. You’re probably not going to really pick up much on that six month ones because you’re still recovering from the four month ones.

The six month one will probably go a bit undetected and there’s the nine month one. And you will most certainly know about that nine month one. Uh, it’s, there’s a lot happening, um, at nine months old.

This is oftentimes when we have children who are beginning to crawl. So this is, this is what happened with that big developmental, um, parts there. It’s a lot going on cognitively.

So a lot with their brain development as well that is happening. So that’s another reason that you could have a sleep regression. And then with this crawling becomes, um, object permanence becomes more of a, an issue, let’s say.

So now it is that when your baby’s realizing that when you move, you actually move, um, and you can completely disappear if you chose to. Um, and so that’s where we get that you, your baby will struggle with you going out of sight.

[Brandi]

It’s so funny you say that too, because I feel like I, I remember reading that like around that time where your kids melt down because they really think that you’re never coming back.

Like it’s not that they’re being, you know, a bunch of wusses. It’s just that they really think you disappeared.

[Rebecca]

And that must be terrifying. Imagine being so tiny and not understanding.

And the person that you rely on for everything has gone to the restroom.

[Brandi]

Yeah. They’re like, wait, where are you going?

Like, and how long will you be there?

[Rebecca]

Why are you not taking me?

[Brandi]

Why are you not taking me with you? Cause I have to pee.

[Rebecca]

I’m only going to be like not even one minute.

[Brandi]

Not even. It’s a quick pee, I promise. Oh my gosh.

[Rebecca]

So there’s a lot going on at that nine months.

It can last a while as well, which is why another reason why that nine months sleep regression normally there can just be a couple of weeks, nine month one can be a couple of months, unfortunately. And there’s the 12 month one. Again, you’re not really going to pick up on that one because you’re still sort of like.

[Brandi]

You’re still in it.

[Rebecca]

And then there’s an 18 month one and a two year old one. But I think those ones are very, very different because we’re dealing with very opinionated little human beings at that point who are really, really going to let you know their true feelings and they are running around and climbing everything, which makes that just very, a very, very different sleep regression. But just reminding yourself it’s because your baby is so amazing and they’re doing all this amazing development that that is why sleep has got wonky.

I think helps a little bit.

(11:46) Practice Makes Perfect

[Rebecca]

But if your baby needs to perfect the skills that they’re working on, so rolling over, for example, so you’re trying to change their diaper. They’re trying to roll over. You’re trying to get them in the car seat.

They’re trying to roll over.

[Brandi]

It’s like wrestling an alligator.

[Rebecca]

Oh my God.

It’s it’s you just, just, just stop.

[Brandi]

I just want to change your diaper.

[Rebecca]

This is not the time to be rolling over right now is the time, but they need to perfect these new skills everywhere. So that’s why they’re constantly doing it.

Once they’ve perfected it, they don’t have that desire to do it all the time. So if they need to perfect rolling over in their bed and the only time they ever get to practice that is when they wake up in the middle of the night. That’s when they will practice that skill.

So having some playtime awake time during the day where they can work on this new skill, I wouldn’t do it associated with sleep. So not just before you want them to go to sleep or just after they’ve woken up from a nap, but just a separate time. If they can work on that new skill 3:00 PM rather than three at 3:00 AM. It’s a much more socially acceptable time to rolling over.

[Brandi]

I agree.

[Rebecca]

Um, it’s not going to make the, the regression disappear. You’re always going to have that, but you might just feel that you’re out of it a little bit quicker because you’ve had time to practice and perfect in that space that you want them to sleep in.

[Brandi]

That’s really good to hear too, because immediately when you said about practice them practicing a special skill that they’re learning, I immediately thought of my oldest who at nine months, it was around nine months. He would wake up at like two in the morning, 2:30. And I remember the time and just would be up and just would want to like have a conversation.

And I remember just being really confused by that because who does that? Um, yeah, this is good to hear because it’s like, at least we know that it isn’t that our kids are, are being jerks or that they’re just unaware. It’s just that they’re trying to practice a skill.

[Rebecca]

Yeah.

[Brandi]

It would be better for us to kind of like help them. Hey, let’s practice that, you know, when the sun is up.

[Rebecca]

Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

[Brandi]

At three in the morning.

[Rebecca]

But that big long await period during the night where nothing’s wrong, definite sleep progression. So as you saw that he was just, he just wanted to be up. There’s nothing wrong.

He wasn’t hungry. He wasn’t, he didn’t need a diaper change. He wasn’t in pain.

That is definite sleep regression. Honestly, best thing to do is rather than fight your child, trying to get them down to sleep because they’re just like, no, I need to be awake. I need to be working this skill.

[Brandi]

Yeah.

[Rebecca]

You’re like, no, you need to be asleep. Just ends up being a really big battle in the middle of the night.

[Brandi]

Yeah.

[Rebecca]

Just leave them be. So they may be awake, but they might quite happily be awake for a while before then you need to step in and help let them practice.

If they’re quite happy to hang out by themselves and do it, go for it.

[Brandi]

Just in there. He’s practicing.

Yeah.

I love it. I love it.

(14:45) Swaddling Sleep Benefits

[Brandi]

Can you tell us about swaddling and how it can help our babies sleep?

[Rebecca]

Definitely. So as your newborn, as your, your baby before they’re born, they are really kind of snug in utero, really, very snug and, um, coming suddenly coming out into the world where it’s very noisy, it’s very bright and you can now move around very, very easily.

Um, it, that can be, it just feels very, very different. And this is the same for all of us. We all struggle with sleep when things feel different than what we used to.

So that’s going to be the same for babies. But then we also have that moro reflex, which is the startle reflex. And I’m sure if you’ve, if you’ve had a baby.

[Brandi]

I remember it. It’s like uhh.

[Rebecca]

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

It’s like, yeah, it’s, and that can be going through sleep cycles. It can be hearing a loud noise. It’s not necessarily sort of way when you think that you’re going to get it, but that moro reflex can wake up babies as they are going through sleep cycles or you’re trying to lay them down.

That’s often when it will happen. Um, and it is, it’s just a very basic reflex that we have for safety. Um, but this can wake up your, wake up your baby.

So swaddling is a really great way of kind of muffling that, that reflex a little bit and keeping baby really snug as well, much like what they were feeling like in the womb. And it keeps them warm as well. So swaddling has a lot of benefits there, but it’s just really, really helpful for sleep.

A lot of times I hear from families. I don’t think my baby likes being swaddled.

[Brandi]

Yeah.

[Rebecca]

What it probably is that they don’t like getting into the swaddle once they’re swaddled, they’re fine, but they may get a little bit kind of cranky with you as you’re trying to get them swaddled. So, um, especially if you’re trying to swaddle them in, in a blanket, because that I think you’ve got to be an expert of trying to do that. It’s really…

[Brandi]

Yeah, it’s like origami.

[Rebecca]

Yeah, it completely is. It can be really, really tricky. Um, and then it’s sort of like hoping that it sticks.

So having a swaddle that is purpose designed as a swaddle and is not got all these loose bits is going to be super, super helpful.

[Brandi]

I know for me, it definitely helped me out so much.

I remember days when the little one would not take a nap and putting him in a swaddle, just like, like a little baby burrito. It was the best thing ever because they would immediately go to sleep. And, and I mean, it made me think I was like, I would love to be swaddled as an adult.

[Rebecca]

Yeah.

(17:44) Co-Sleeping vs. Bed-Sharing

[Brandi]

Can you explain the difference between co-sleeping and bed sharing? How can you safely co-sleep?

Can you explain those two differences? Cause I know we throw that out a lot.

[Rebecca]

There is a little bit of, um, confusion, I think with co-sleeping and bed sharing.

So co-sleeping is when you are sleeping near to your baby. So oftentimes this will be in a co-sleeper or a bassinet that’s right next to your bed. And that makes waking up during the night and helping your baby during the night so much easier to do the, the, you know, the shorter distance you have to travel, the easier that is for everybody.

But then bed sharing is sharing a surface with your, with your child as they are, as they are sleeping. And I think there’s again, a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to both bed sharing and co-sleeping. It doesn’t matter where your child is sleeping.

They can be, it can be unsafe. And that can be whether they’re in a crib, a bassinet, um, on the floor, anywhere can be an unsafe sleep surface. Um, so we want your child to sleep safely wherever it is that they are sleeping.

Now, I always suggest that families set themselves up for safe bed sharing, even if they have no intention of bed sharing, because as you have a newborn and you are up a bazillion times during the night feeding, there’s a possibility that you will fall asleep with your baby in your bed. Um, and so you want that space to be safe so that it really reduces down any risks. So always set yourself up, even if you have no intention of, um, of bed sharing, how we can safely bed share is to make sure that there are no gaps around, um, the mattress and where baby could fall.

So that could be against a wall or just, you know, just rolling off the bed. So you want to make sure that the mattress is really snug against wherever it’s going to be. Um, you want to make sure that baby’s not likely to get into pillows or covers.

So it’s fine to have a pillow, but you want to make sure that baby’s head is not near the pillow. And the majority of times when a breastfeeding parent is, um, is sleeping with a baby, they create what’s called a protective C around the baby. So you can have your head on the pillow.

Your arm is up around your head and then you’ve just, yeah. And then you just sort of, your baby is a, is a breast height and then you’ll bring your knees up as well. And this little cocoon areas, the protective scene is really great for keeping, for keeping baby safe.

So by keeping covers away, um, and sleeping this way, it makes feeding very easy to do. You want to make sure that you are not bed sharing if you are really, really exhausted. And I know that’s just sort of, of course you’re exhausted.

You’re a new parent, but if you feel that you’re not going to wake up, then it would be better to have baby sleeping on a surface, make sure that your partner is fully on board. And a lot of times, um, partners will actually be kind of thrown out of the bed, uh, to in the early days  of bed sharing.

[Brandi]

Oh it happens.

[Rebecca]

Of again, it can just be just a little bit more of that peace of mind. Um, making sure that if you have long hair, that that is tied back, that there were no loose ties on anything that you’re wearing. There is a lot of information out there on safe bed sharing.

And now even the American Academy of Pediatrics are trying to encourage people to set up for safe bed sharing. Whereas before it was very much, you just shouldn’t do it.

[Brandi]

Just don’t do it. Yeah.

[Rebecca]

Yeah. That’s when it was happening unsafely because people weren’t knowing how to do it safely. So now the American Academy of Pediatrics are saying, you know, it is better to be on a separate, on a separate surface, but if you’re going to bed share, then these are ways that you should do it.

And it’s just really kind of easy things that you can go through and just do a little check.

[Brandi]

So they have resources on their online for that.

[Rebecca]

Yeah.

[Brandi]

Perfect.

(21:52) Is It Safe to Nap in a Baby Carrier?

[Brandi]

Can babies sleep safely in baby carriers? I know this is something that we get a lot from parents, you know, because that’s what happens naturally.

A lot of babies fall asleep in the carrier. They just knock out.

[Rebecca]

I mean, it’s impossible to keep them away, to keep them awake.

[Brandi]

Good luck. Try it. Yes.

[Rebecca]

Because they said it’s a really good position for them to be in. It’s that snug feeling much like the swaddle. They got that pressure on their tummy, which is a really these…

[Brandi]

Heart to your heart. It’s the best thing.

[Rebecca]

Exactly. The best. Exactly.

So if you can lay baby down somewhere safe, then you can certainly do so. But as long as you’re wearing safely, then say it’s a safe sleep space for them to be as long as you’re wearing safely. Honestly, I think sometimes, and I remember this with my with my eldest, sometimes that if we were he was in the carrier that I would then just manage to get him to sleep.

There was no way I was going to be taking him out of that carrier and no way waking him up.

[Brandi]

No way, I’m not going to do it.

[Rebecca]

I’m not even going to risk sitting down.

I’m just going to keep moving.

[Brandi]

I think that’s like the story of many parents. It’s like once baby is sleep in the carrier, no one move.

[Rebecca]

Yeah. Yeah.

(23:37) Bouncer Tricky Transfer

[Brandi]

Can babies nap in bounce in a bouncer?

And if so, or if not, how can we transition them safely from the bouncer to their sleep, their safe sleep space?

[Rebecca]

It can be a tricky transfer. And that’s the same, you know, out of the carrier as well, or if you’re even out of the car seat or anywhere.

[Brandi]

It’s like mission impossible.

[Rebecca]

Totally is. It can be really tricky. Now there are a few, few tricks that make this a little bit easier.

[Brandi]

Please help us.

[Rebecca]

10 minutes. If your baby is asleep, 10 minutes of sleep, that seems to be the magic number for making that transition to laying them down is a little bit easier because regardless of how stealthy you are, you are going to start waking them up. So waiting at 10 minutes, they’re in a little bit of a deeper sleep at that 10 minute point.

Stealthy as you can scooping them up and then laying them down and then keeping your hands on them may not need to do it for very long,

[Brandi]

Right.

[Rebecca]

Minute maximum, but you want to make sure that they’re then going down into that deeper sleep again. But if your baby does fall asleep in the bouncer, you do want to lay them down onto that flat surface just because the bouncer is not really, it’s not a safe sleep space.

[Brandi]

This is good. So good to hear too, because I swear that when you’re postpartum, postpartum and stealth, it’s like, are just the antithesis of each other. It’s like postpartum and grace and quiet.

And like, I, I swear I became clumsier and more just like the amount of breast milk that I knocked over.

[Rebecca]

That’s not what you want to be knocking over. That’s heartbreaking.

[Brandi]

Oh my god. Yeah. Yeah. So I’m glad that you’re like giving us step-by-step.

This is what you do 10 minutes.

[Rebecca]

And if your baby wakes up, just scoop them up instantly. I wouldn’t worry about, you know, giving them that opportunity to see if they can get themselves back down to sleep.

[Brandi]

That part.

[Rebecca]

Yeah. Those are, that’s all great. It’s all very, you know, it’s very easy for me to say that, but realistically trying to do that is a, is a lot harder to do.

We’re all in a state of sleep deprivation and you just do what you need to do to have your, have your family sleeping as safe as possible. Don’t worry. I, there are no bad habits when it comes to sleep.

Sometimes you just need to do whatever you need to do. And if that means picking a baby up and helping them back to sleep again, then do that. As we mentioned, as they get older, there is that independence and it will, it will come.

[Brandi]

Yeah. You can’t baby wear a 17 year old.

[Rebecca]

You can’t.

And I doubt they would really want that either. Well, maybe they would.

[Brandi]

No, they don’t want it.

Not when they’re 6’1”.

[Rebecca]

No, definitely not.

(26:23) How to Dress Baby for Sleep

[Brandi]

All right. What are the best ways to dress baby for sleep?

[Rebecca]

So it depends on the temperature that you keep, that you keep your house in or whether you’re outside. So this is going to play a really key part.

So you just want to check what your baby’s temperature, whether you think that they are going to be warm or not. So if your fingers are normal temperature, check on their chest or their back rather than their forehead or their hands because baby circulation isn’t great. And that is likely their hands and their forehead is likely to feel cool.

So just check what their body temperature is. Generally you want to dress baby, especially for sleep in one more layer than you would wear. And remember that may be their swaddle.

That could be the swaddle that they’re in.

[Brandi]

I love it.

(27:13) Sleep Routine Success

[Brandi]

Should we be concerned about our little one becoming reliant on a certain routine?

For example, if we forget the sound machine, I think I know what you’re going to say about this, but I want to hear what you’re going to say.

[Rebecca]

Sleep consultants love to talk about consistency and how we should be doing the same things in the same place in the same order whenever we possibly can. Because that makes sleep easier.

But then yeah, what happens if you don’t have that something that can then make sleep a challenge? Don’t panic is the first thing. But if you have a few steps of a routine, so getting into the sleep sack may be one step of your routine, or you say goodnight to the same stuffed animal as part of that is part of your routine.

Your chances are you have other steps there that you can keep and you can that can remain consistent. So just kind of missing out one step of your routine is not going to be the end of the world. White noise is always a little bit of a worrying one, because it can be really tricky to suddenly if you’re used to sleeping with a lot of adults will sleep with a fan that you’re trying to not suddenly sleep with that.

So I would try to have some white noise so that you could have that playing as your child is falling asleep. It’s not going to be perfect. Remember, good enough is always good enough.

Perfect is totally overrated. I think having that flexibility is it’s a little bit easier for everybody. Now I know that some children are more flexible than others and this does totally come down to their personality and to their temperament.

You know your child better than anybody. So making your life as easy as possible for you, but then also for your child that gets everybody the best possible sleep.

[Brandi]

I love this. I think you’re great because what I hear from you is that I love when you said perfect is overrated. Good enough is good enough. Yeah.

Because also too I think of like babies, they’re the most unpredictable thing and sometimes things go off the rail. Things go left and it’s like what do you do? And it’s like if you have this pressure to consistently have the same, same, same, same, same thing going on or same routine, it’s just unrealistic.

[Rebecca]

Yeah. And we want flexible sleepers.

[Brandi]

Exactly.

[Rebecca]

And again, some children struggle a little more than others with that, but you only have that flexibility by creating the flexibility by doing it. So I think you being able to stay kind of calm and relaxed through it is very, very important. If you’re beginning to get upset or panic, your child is going to pick up on that and they are not going to be able to relax enough to fall asleep.

There are some things you just got to let wash over you. It is what it is. Well, let’s do the best that we possibly can.

And knowing that if things are different, whether that’s through travel or anything, sleep’s going to probably get a little bit challenging. And again, just expecting that to be the case. Change is hard for all of us.

[Brandi]

Yeah.

[Rebecca]

A lot of times though we expect children to sleep exactly the same everywhere. We’re trying to get them out of the swaddle.

It didn’t work. They woke up. Of course they woke up.

They’ll get used to it. Practice makes progress. They will get used to it the more times that they do it.

So expect everything to get kind of wonky. You can always work on getting back on track when you get home or within a night or two, you’ll find that sleep again is in a very different place.

(31:14) Safe Sleep Practice Tips

[Brandi]

What are the top tips for safe sleep practices and when should a parent be concerned? For example, if my baby is sleeping with their mouth open or if they’re learning how to roll over, what should we do? Is there anything to do?

[Rebecca]

Yeah, wherever they’re sleeping you do want to make sure that that is safe so that is a flat, firm surface, whether that is your mattress or you have a mattress on the floor or it’s their bassinet or it’s a crib, that is probably one of the most important things. Firm is really important here as well. Memory foam is not firm and so think that, you know, if it’s contouring to your body and baby rolls over then it’s going to be contouring to them and so that is not a firm enough surface.

Don’t feel you’ve got to have, you know, everything you’ve got to have a certain type of mattress, a certain type of swaddle, you don’t have to do that. All cribs are made to a certain standard, all mattresses are made to a certain standard so just you feel safe buying what you’re buying. When it comes to baby rolling over, now that is a real worry because baby rolls over, oftentimes their face will be smushed against the mattress and you think, one, how is that comfortable?

We’ve got this firm surface that they’re sleeping on, how on earth is that comfortable? If you are worried at all about your child, you can move them, you can just move their head but once a baby can roll over, they are safe to sleep on their tummy. You want to make sure that they are not swaddled because you want them to be able to push up and move around as they need to, if they need to, but that I think is a real worry when you see that for that first time and you see them sleeping on their tummy, it’s just a little bit scary.

[Brandi]

Yeah, it is.

(33:01) Everything is Going to Change

[Brandi]

Last question and I think this is more than likely the people who are listening to this in the middle of the night while their baby is possibly awake or dealing with a nine-month sleep regression, what would be the one thing you would tell them in this moment?

[Rebecca]

That it’s all going to change, everything is going to change and I think it’s always worth remembering this, whichever stage or step that you’re at, when things are really challenging and you are up a lot at night, it is all going to change and then remind yourself that when your child is sleeping great and everything is going really well, things are going to change. So there is no step that is going to last forever, it’s constantly changing and evolving and it’s just going to look very, very different as your child grows. You’re still going to have times even with a teenager when they are not sleeping and that’s the times, why is it that teenagers do that?

It’s because that’s when they want to talk.

[Brandi]

Yeah, same, same.

[Rebecca]

Why is that? It’s a, you know.

[Brandi]

I don’t know.

[Rebecca]

And again, teens have a very different sleep schedule than the rest of the human race but it’s constantly changing and evolving. So if you’re feeling just, you can feel this kind of despair when it gets to you, you just don’t know what to do.

It is all going to change, it just will. Even if you do nothing, it’s all, it will change.

[Brandi]

This too shall pass.

[Rebecca]

Yes.

[Brandi]

Well thank you so much Rebecca, this has been such a good conversation. I think it’s going to support so many parents.

[Rebecca]

Sleep is something that we all love and we don’t necessarily get enough of as parents but welcome to parenthood and I think that’s something that lasts forever.

[Brandi]

Yeah, that part. Well thank you so much and thank you all for listening. We hope that this information in this episode has made your life with baby easier.

(35:05) Takeaways

[Brandi]

My takeaways, so many.

One of them, that everything is continually changing.

As soon as we get over the four month sleep regression, there’s the nine month and then there’s teething. And then we’re crawling. Oh, and now we’re crawling. We’re getting out of our crib. Everything is going to continually change and that we should just buckle in for the ride.

Another thing that stuck out to me was the sleep study that was done that we still use to this day. That was based off of a 1950’s study. That’s based off of 1950’s formula. That was a game changer because when I heard that one, my baby not sleeping through the night has less to do with me and more to do with these ideas that I have in my head around a study that’s not even relevant now.

It’s normal for babies to wake up. That’s normal. Which then the whole thing about what is normal, if they’re not sleeping through the night, what is it that they need? It’s normal.

Them wanting you in the middle of the night is normal.

Another thing that stuck out also was the whole idea that there are no bad habits. This idea that, oh, well, if, I you know, put on the sound machine or if I rock them or if I hold them, if I do this or that or the other, oh my gosh, I’m going to ruin everything.

I love how Rebecca took the pressure off of us to do what we need to do. We’re all just trying to survive. That really helped in deconstructing this idea that what doing is wrong.

 

Ergobaby is dedicated to building a global community of confident parents. The Life With Baby podcast is just one of many ways we hope to support parents through all the joys and jobs of parenting.

This podcast was produced by Tiffany Toby, edited by Angel Hunter and Hannah Speckart, written by Vittoria Allen, sound design and theme song by John Jackson, graphics designed by Noah Friedenberg, and our executive producers are Christina Soletti and Kalani Robinson. I’m your host, Brandi Sellerz-Jackson.

Vittoria Allen

Vittoria is a writer based in San Diego. A lover of good food, slow living, and a good novel, she shares her life with her husband and two daughters trying to squeeze out the beauty in every moment.

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