Sleepy baby, happy mama: Your top baby sleep questions, answered

Sleep is so necessary for everyone in the family, but sometimes sleep and parenting seem to mix together like oil and water. There will be tough periods of time, and easier ones too (we promise).

For the tough times there are magical sleep wizards called pediatric sleep consultants to help solve your problems, like Amy Lage, founder of Well Rested Baby. Amy became certified pediatric sleep consultant four years ago, and has helped more than 500 families to date.

We talked to Amy and asked her to TELL US ALL HER SLEEP SECRETS.

Here are some of the most common sleep questions she gets from parents + her helpful answers.

How do I get my child to sleep through the night?

It sounds like a daunting task, but if the following five key components are applied consistently, any child can achieve sleeping success.

1. Offer a consistent place to sleep.

Sleeping at home, in their crib, bed, etc., will eliminate distractions; this is where and how they will get their best sleep. (Make sure their environment is ideal for sleeping.)

2. Respect your child’s biological sleep rhythms.

Make sure your child naps at the times that are biologically appropriate for their age. We all have internal clocks (called circadian rhythms) that make us feel drowsy at certain times; this is when we get our lengthiest and most restorative sleep.

3. Have an early bedtime that is flexible according to the quality of day sleep.

Bedtimes should not be set times. Instead, they should shift based on how naps went that particular day.

4. Implement a consistent, soothing routine.

This will help your child understand when to expect to be put down for bed. This routine does not need to be anything complicated—maybe a book, a soothing song, and bed (putting them down when sleepy, but awake).

5. Teach the ability to self-soothe.

This is one of the best skills you can teach your child, as it enables them to become well rested and independent.

(Read more about sleep training here, and specifically a gentle approach here.)

How do I get my child to nap longer?

A nap needs to be 60 minutes to be restorative, and it is important to teach your baby this concept.

If you rush in to get your child right away when he wakes from a short nap, he will assume nap time is over and will not understand that he should try to go back to sleep.

Instead, leave your baby in his crib for an hour from the time he fell asleep. For example, if he falls asleep at 12:50 and wakes at 1:30, you would leave him until 1:50. This will give him the opportunity to fall back to sleep and help him practice his self-soothing skills.

How do I get my child to stay in bed?

When you know your child is ready for a “big kid bed,” make sure you set some rules: Create “sleep rules” together detailing bedtime routine and overnight behavior, only including rules that you will 100% enforce.

For example: “I will brush my teeth, read one book, have water, go potty, get into bed, and stay there until mom or dad (or My Tot Clock if you use one) tells me it is okay to be awake and out of bed. If I get out of my bed before it is time to be awake, mom or dad will quietly walk me back to my bed with no talking.”

Put your plan and rules into play: Read the “sleep rules” together every night to remind your child of expectations. If/when he comes of his bed take him by the hand with no talking or eye contact and walk him back, leaving the room right away.

This trip should be all business. Do this every time he comes out of bed; the first night you may have to bring him back 30 times, but if you are 100% consistent your child will stay in his bed after a few days.

What’s your best sleep advice for parents?

Over-tiredness wreaks havoc on children’s sleep.

So if you could only do one thing for their sleep, make sure their bedtime is early enough. An early bedtime saves a multitude of sleep issues. When we’re overtired, our bodies release the hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline.

You and I think of it as a second wind (which we can usually handle), but for a child it’s a massive dose of a stimulant, so it’s hard for them to fall asleep on their own and stay asleep when this happens.

Children learn everything through our consistent example, so if your plan is something the family can’t stand behind, then it’s never going to work.

Changing a child’s pattern or routine can seem daunting, but if you’re ready and determined to make the change, it’ll work.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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