Today I would like to introduce Katrina Villegas from Mama’s Organized Chaos. She is a former process engineer and chemistry teacher turned stay at home mum. She will be sharing five baby sleep tips she used to get her babies sleeping through the night by the time they were 4 months old.
Katrina is also the author of Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps. I have included a review of her book below. There is also a chance for ONE lucky mum to WIN a digital copy of Katrina’s book. See the end of this post for the GIVEAWAY details.
Disclaimer: I received Katrina’s book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in the review are my own.
5 Baby Sleep Tips to Implement Immediately
Sleep like a baby. It’s something people say, and yet in practice, society tends to accept babies don’t sleep well. New mums look for advice when their baby won’t take naps and is up all night, and they are told it’s “normal,” and to “settle in,” and “get used to those sleepless nights.”
They are told it can be that way for at least a year. And then countless mums chime in with their experiences of how their baby never slept either. It’s easy to just accept this lack of sleep when it feels “normal.”
Sleepless nights might be what the majority of people are experiencing, but that doesn’t mean it has to be that way, and it certainly doesn’t make it “normal” and something we should just accept.
Sleep is SUPER important – for us and our babies. Just as we function better when we get the appropriate amount of sleep for an adult, babies function better when they get the appropriate amount of sleep for their age.
Babies are happier and more ready to take on the world when they are well rested. So, why do we just accept poor sleep habits from our babies? I will never know the answer to that, because I for one do not accept this.
I have seen firsthand with my babies that implementing some simple practices in the home can drastically help to prioritise sleep in your house – for everyone. And no it doesn’t just work for my babies. I’ve helped countless parents to implement these strategies as well.
And no, let me stop your brain from wandering right now – these are not cry it out techniques. These are realistic and logical steps that can help teach your child how to sleep in gentle ways. And the best part, is that these techniques can be implemented at any time.
So, whether you are pregnant and in preparation mode, or you have a newborn already, or you have a 6 month old, or a 9 month old – these techniques are for you!
It takes work, but for something as important as sleep, I challenge you to not just accept your baby will be up all night for one plus years. I challenge you to put your parenting cap on and start teaching. Teach your baby how to sleep – because it is that important.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your baby is just a bad sleeper. We don’t do this with ANYTHING else in our child’s life, so why do it now?
We have to teach our children and teach our babies. It’s no different than teaching them to use the potty. We have to teach our babies good sleep habits, and it starts whenever you are ready!
For a complete guide, I’ve written a book called Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps (available from Amazon.com.au and Amazon.com). It’s an easy read. It’s written with the sleepless parent in mind. It’s to the point and all HOW to, instead of the usual parenting book of WHY’s with little explanation of how to go about implementing.
To start with, however, I’d like to get you started with 5 simple tasks that you can implement today!
- Eat, Wake, Sleep Cycles
- Full feedings
- Nap/night routines
- Wake baby during the day
- Sound machine
Eat, Wake, Sleep Cycles
I go into this more fully in my book, Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps (available from Amazon.com.au and Amazon.com), but here’s a basic explanation. Your baby should be eating, then having awake time, and then sleeping.
A baby that eats and then falls asleep, can become reliant on eating in order to fall asleep, and a sleep crutch can be formed.
A sleep crutch is not something you want your baby to have. It means they will NEED this in order to sleep. So, when they wake in the middle of the night, they will need YOU to come feed them in order to go back to sleep. This is not what you want.
Babies under 4 months of age do need food in the middle of the night still. So, this won’t eliminate night feedings all together, but it will help to prepare your baby for better sleep habits down the road.
And the good news is this is easy to implement.
Throughout the day just repeat this cycle: feed baby, have awake time, then nap. Eat, wake, sleep, repeat. All day long! No more letting your baby eat to fall asleep.
Babies will snack all day if you let them. Snacking all day will lead to a baby that is not actually full. A full baby sleeps well for naps and night. A hungry baby does not sleep well.
So, focus on teaching your baby to eat a full meal.
This means that you keep your baby awake during feedings. It means that you refocus them if they get distracted. And it means that you don’t feed them at every cry. I use a feeding schedule and have these schedules outlined in my book, Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps (available from Amazon.com.au and Amazon.com).
A 4 month old, for example, should be eating about 5 times a day. I space out those feedings and make sure that my baby is drinking enough breast milk/formula. As a result, they won’t be hungry in between.
Now, your baby might be used to the comfort of snacking all day and sucking on a nipple. But that doesn’t mean they are hungry.
If you get your baby a full feed, trust it and feed them at the next feeding time. You are the parent and you know best. Your baby simply knows how to cry to tell you something is up… but that something isn’t always them needing food.
This is one of my favorite things to implement. Before every nap and before bed at night, do a simple routine with your baby. This routine helps to do two things:
- It settles them for sleep. The routine should be relaxing and help them get in the mood to sleep.
- It mentally prepares them for sleep. Once they learn the routine, when you first start it, your baby will know that it is time to sleep and start mentally preparing for that upcoming nap or bedtime.
I keep this SUPER simple because I want to be able to do it anywhere- even when on vacation.
Here’s a sample sleep routine:
- Change diaper
- Place in swaddle/sleep sack (depending on age)
- Close curtains and turn out lights
- Turn on sound machine
- Tell your baby it’s time to sleep
- Give hugs
- Place in safe sleep environment (crib or bassinet)
At bedtime I also include a book. I never include a bath, though… I keep that separate since I don’t bathe my babies every single day!
Wake baby during the day
There is only so much sleep to be had during a 24 hour period. Continuing with the 4 month old example… a 4 month old needs an average of about 16.5 hours of sleep TOTAL in 24 hours. That’s average, so your baby might need slightly more or less.
We want about 12 of these hours to happen at night. So, that means we can’t use up too much sleep during the day.
You also don’t want your baby overtired or undertired, so I suggest implementing a schedule for your baby to help space out their sleep appropriately throughout the day.
When you have a schedule in place, you know exactly when your baby should be sleeping during the day. This will make sure they are getting enough sleep, but also not too much.
A 4 month old nap schedule would look something like this:
- Nap #1: 8-10 am
- Nap #2: 11:30 am- 1 pm
- Nap #3: 2:30-4 pm
- Nap #4: 5:30-6:30 pm
- Total daytime sleep: 6 hours
- Night sleep: 7 pm- 6:30 am
- Total nighttime sleep: 11.5 hours
- Total sleep during a 24 hour period: 17.5 hours
Having this schedule allows me to know that I am spacing out sleep at appropriate times for my baby’s age. It also keeps me focused on total sleep. I can’t expect my baby to sleep 12 hours at night, if they are using up too much of their sleep hours during the day.
And when nap time is over, I wake up my babies! I know, never waking a sleeping baby, right!? False! If you want your baby to sleep at night, you need to cap their sleep during the day. So, go ahead and wake your baby up, and then get right back to the next eat, wake, sleep cycle.
Waking your baby also ensures that you have time for all of the feedings you need to get in during the day.
This is a simple step, but often hard for parents. Just trust it and give it a try! I promise your baby will be ok if you wake them up! And even better- they will sleep better during the day and night, and you will have a happier baby as a result.
For schedules help, you can grab a copy of my book (available from Amazon.com.au and Amazon.com), and also head over to my blog and view all of our sample schedules here. And even better news, is I have a baby schedules planning guide coming out in a few weeks… it has 365+ days of tracking sheets for you to keep track of your baby’s schedule, and on each page it has a recommended schedule for your baby’s age! It doesn’t get easier than that!
If you’ve read through the example sleep routines above, you’ll notice that I include a sound machine being turned on as a part of the routine…
When your baby is in your belly there are TONS of noises. Some noise is comforting to babies. It also helps to drown out the more distracting noises that might happen in your household- other kids getting ready for bed, the dog’s collar shaking and clanking, etc.
Using something like a sound machine creates a positive sleep association. Sleep associations are different from sleep crutches. A sleep crutch is something that a baby relies on to sleep (like eating). A sleep association helps to tell your baby “It’s time to sleep!”
A sound machine can do just that! It signals to your baby that this is the time to sleep. It also comforts them and provides a positive sleep environment. And the best part is that sound machines are portable and can be taken on vacation. So your baby will always have this indicator, no matter where you are and they will sleep good for you as a result!
For more sleep tips, be sure to head over to my blog and grab a copy of Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps (available from Amazon.com.au and Amazon.com)! You won’t regret teaching your baby good sleep habits, and I am so happy to help you along the way.
You can also consider whether you should co-sleep with your baby. Co-sleeping may help your little one sleep through the night.
Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps – Book Review
For most mums, after baby is feeding well, your next priority is getting baby to sleep well.
You start asking:
- How can I make baby fall asleep?
- How do I get baby to sleep without being held?
- How do I get my newborn to sleep at night?
- How do I get my baby to stop fighting sleep?
- How do I teach my baby to self soothe?
Katrina has provided some great baby sleep tips above that can be implemented immediately. She elaborates further in her book, Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps (available from Amazon.com.au and Amazon.com). In her book, Katrina describes EXACTLY what she did to get her babies sleeping through the night by the time they were 4 months old.
Katrina also conducted an informal poll of a group of 300 parents who share the same parenting strategies she outlines in her book. Of the 300 parents surveyed:
- 80.4% of their babies were sleeping through the night before 6 months of age.
- 76.5% of their babies were sleeping through the night before 5 months of age.
- 60.9% of their babies were sleeping through the night before 4 months of age.
- 23.4% of their babies were sleeping through the night before 3 months of age.
- 3.9% of their babies were sleeping through the night in their first month.
- 18% of their babies were not sleeping through the night until between 6 to 12 months.
- 1.6% of their babies were not sleeping through the night by 12 months.
So the strategies she outlines in her book works. Nevertheless, you should note Katrina’s book and advice is based on her experience with her babies. What worked for her, won’t necessarily work for you. I encourage you to try the strategies Katrina outlines in her book and see if they suit you, your baby and your personalities. As with all advice, you should use the strategies you are comfortable with and align with your beliefs. As a mum, you know your baby best.
Katrina didn’t get her babies sleeping through the night through sheer luck. She put in the hard work to make it happen. She wanted her babies to sleep 12 hours at night to ensure they would be happy and healthy. She also wanted to get a good night’s rest, so she wasn’t sleep deprived and could be the best mum she could be.
In her book, Katrina outlines 6 steps she used to help baby start sleeping through the night.
- Show your baby the difference between day and night
- Get your baby taking full feedings
- Two types of routines to set up immediately
- The eat, wake, sleep cycle explained
- Get your baby on a feeding and sleeping schedule
- How to tackled nighttime wakings in 6 easy steps
She also provides additional information about:
- Sleep tools and sleep associations
- How to handle short naps
- Nap training
- How to know when your baby needs a schedule change
- How to make a schedule change
- 8 benefits of keeping your baby on a schedule
- Useful resources
What I liked about Katrina’s book
I loved how Katrina provides easy and practical strategies you can implement. Also, it is written concisely and to the point. There is no fluff or filler content. This ensures you save time, and can read her book quickly. You can then implement strategies early, helping you and baby to get more sleep. I particularly liked the strategies outlined in Chapter 1 – Show your baby the difference between day and night, and Chapter 2 – Get your baby taking full feedings. For example, a practical tip to get your baby to take full feedings is tickling baby’s toes. The formatting of the book also makes it easy to refer back to later.
Who should buy this book
- Mums who like easy and practical strategies they can implement straight away.
- Mums who want to follow a time schedule.
- Mums who don’t want to follow a time schedule, but would like routine suggestions and will use the time schedules as a guide.
- Mums who are willing to do the work to implement the recommended strategies.
See below for details about how you could WIN a copy of Katrina’s book.
You can buy Katrina’s book, Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps from Amazon.com.au and Amazon.com.
Who should not buy this book
- Mums who want to demand feed their babies.
- Mums who want to follow their baby’s sleep and awake cues.
- Mums who have received specific advice from their health professionals based on their babies’s growth and development.
- Mums who are not willing to do the work to implement the recommended strategies.
You might like this post where a dad’s describes his son’s ridiculous and long-winded bed routine.
You have a chance to WIN a digital copy of Katrina’s new book, Baby Sleep Solutions: Exhausted? How to Get Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night in 6 Easy Steps (available from Amazon.com.au and Amazon.com).
You can enter three ways:
How to enter on PETITECAPSULE.COM
- Subscribe to the Petite Capsule email list &
- Comment on this blog post with your best baby sleep tip (it can be one of the tips in this post).
How to enter on FACEBOOK
- Like the Petite Capsule Facebook Page and Mama’s Organized Chaos Facebook Page &
- Like the giveaway post &
- Tag a friend in the comments section.
For extra chances to win, tag more friends. Each tagged friend is an additional entry! You can also enter the competition on petitecapsule.com (see above) and Instagram (see below).
How to enter on INSTAGRAM
- Follow @petite.capsule and @mamasorganizedchaos &
- Like the giveaway post &
- Tag a friend in the comments section.
For extra chances to win, tag more friends. Each tagged friend is an additional entry! You can also enter the competition on petitecapsule.com and Facebook (see above).
Terms and Conditions
The competition begins, now and ends Thursday 30 April 2020, 11:59pm AEST. ONE winner will be drawn randomly from blog post comments, Facebook and Instagram. The winner will be announced on Friday 1 May 2020. If the prize is not claimed within 72 hours, another winner will be randomly selected.
Participants must be:
- At least 18 years old
- Have a valid email address
The giveaway is not affiliated with or endorsed by Facebook or Instagram.
Katrina Villegas is a former process engineer and chemistry teacher turned stay at home mom. She is organizing her beautiful chaos one Babywise step at a time, and sharing her successes and trials along the way. When her daughter was just a few months old she started a blog. She’s been recording her thoughts and stories, along with what she’s learned, “how to” guides and more. You’ll find everything from information on breastfeeding and cloth diapering, to using baby schedules, sleep training options, and discipline tips. She is also mom to a baby that earned her wings due to trisomy 13. You’ll find raw, real emotions and how she’s coping with her grief of losing a child at this blog.