Today, we’re excited to have Nicole Johnson on the show. She’s a baby and toddler sleep coach and a mother of two boys. She launched the Baby Sleep Site in 2008. As part of the website she launched a helpdesk to provide more personalized assistance to families worldwide. By thoroughly researching she became an expert in sleep method, scheduling routines and babies developmental needs.
Links for this episode:
Baby Sleep Site - https://www.babysleepsite.com/
Nicole. Married mother of two boys, 10 and 12. The baby sleep sight started out 12 years ago when she had her first baby.
Her baby just didn’t like to sleep at all and would wake up every 1 to 2 hours all night. She started reading and researching why he’s waking up so much and then of course she tried to fix it. It took her awhile especially since the books she read seems to contradict each other and it was very confusing for a new mom.
She had her second son who was a better sleeper but not perfect. They were so different personality wise. She then started to learn more about how much temperament impacts what type of baby you have, however she too got him to sleeping well.
Before her second son she started helping other parents and they were very thankful as she was able to explain things better than the books. She decided to write her own book after enough people have said it. She started with simple blogs which grew and turn into this site they call the Baby Sleep Site. They get to have an average of 1.5M visitors on a monthly basis. It just became her passion to help other families figure the sleep stuff.
Communication. She stays away of too much science talk. She just becomes practical when giving advice, there’s what’s ideal and what’s possible and what’s practical for your family no matter if you’re a working or a stay at home mom.
Not all solutions would fit a family. So she’s pretty good at taking a look at your situation and developing a plan that is more likely to be successful for the whole family. There’s no right or wrong plan, but the one that’s going to work for you.
Baby’s sleep. Newborn sleeps a lot. They basically sleep, eat and poop a lot the first several weeks. They sleep anywhere from 15-16 hours. Newborns cannot stay awake too long without needing to sleep again. Some accidentally keep the baby up too long and that can cause it to be more difficult for the baby to sleep because our bodies release hormones to fight fatigue and if you’re awake too long you tend to fight sleep more and that can definitely impact how well your baby is sleeping.
As they get older, around 4 or 5 months old, we’re seeing 11-12 hours of sleep at night and 3-4 hours during the day. That decreases to 11-12 hours at night and 2-3 hours during the day around 6 months old until they transition to one nap during 15-18 months old. They sleep from 1-2 hours during the day. They nap until age 3-4 years old on average.
Common Issues. Number one thing is “My baby is waking too much at night”. Waking up every one to three hours depending on age, the most common reason for that is because your child associates a certain way to fall asleep. We inadvertently become our children’s pillow since they fall asleep on us, on our arms and then we put them down when they’re asleep but then when they wake up they don’t know how to put themselves back to sleep. We generally just have to teach them a new way to sleep. All sleep associations are not bad, it’s just a matter of making it so they could get through them without necessarily our help for every single one of them.
Another common issue is, “My baby won’t nap” or “My baby takes short naps”. Again this boils down to sleep association.
They also get complaints of waking up too early, a toddler needing somebody in the room when they fall asleep, and a lot more, but those mentioned are the most common.
Sleep Association. Don’t take it away completely. Do it as part of your routine, but then there has to be an end point. There has to be a time when you say, “Okay, well that’s enough”. It’s about setting the limit.
There’s no right or wrong way for anybody. It’s more on what works best for you. It’s about finding what’s right for you. It’s helping moms find their own way and what works for them, and what’s good enough for now and then re-evaluate and change it later. It’s never easy but it’s always possible.
Recommendations. Learning what is age-appropriate for your child would help you set your expectations. Getting bedtime routine going so everybody knows what to expect. Setting up the room to be more conducive for sleep to make sure everybody’s comfortable. Help your child learn how to sleep.
- Ideal room temperature is from 68-78 degrees.
- Dark rooms are highly recommended. Night lights are not recommended until they are toddlers and kind of showing some desire of having a little bit of light. Room darkening blinds for better naps if you’re at home.
- White noise tends to help newborns as they’re used to that in the womb, even for adults it can be helpful.
- No blanket or loose bedding in the crib before a year old for safety.
How to learn more about Nicole: