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Sleep Disruptions

Month 4
Month 5

Sleep Disruptions

Sleep Disruptions

Baby’s sleep is changing. Yay! Prepare for disruptions. Boo. Healthy sleep is one of the most important life skills your baby can learn because it’s closely connected to attention, stress management, memory consolidation, and healthy growth.

The Wow Ahead:

Sensory Integration

Baby will start gaining control of their head, neck, and tongue. This means that the first tastes of food are right around the corner.

The Wow

Out of the controlled chaos that is the first three to five months of life, Baby’s temperament is starting to emerge. As neural-pruning continues, sleep rhythms begin shifting in distinct circadian phases, helped by the production of melatonin and the rhythms you’ve been setting. As Baby’s sleep rhythms mature, they begin to mimic yours: brief wakings as she toggles between light and deep sleep cycles every few hours throughout the night. Even for adults, night waking 3 to 4 times a night is normal and goes largely unnoticed. But for a baby, it can mean crying when they wake and discover their surroundings have changed from when they fell asleep. There are many ways to help Baby handle this transition in sleep, and it’s important not to assume that she’s up because she’s hungry. Remember: not all crying is hunger, although, baby may feed for comfort. Because sleep is essential for development and growth, healthy habits can be the first tool to aid in self-soothing and gaining sleep skills. 

The How

  1. 1

    Drowsy (but Awake)

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    Rather than rocking or feeding Baby to sleep, try to put her down “drowsy but awake” (sleepy, but not fully asleep). She may fuss for a few minutes but is more likely to learn to fall asleep on her own. If she falls asleep while feeding, try changing her diaper to wake her up just a tiny bit before putting her down.


    When a baby falls asleep while being rocked, held, or fed, they will expect it every time they fall asleep (middle of the night, nap time, etc.) for many years to come.  This can become an added stressor for you and for baby as they get older. It’s hard to think about your baby as a two-year-old or a six-year-old right now, but trust that the healthy habits you create now will benefit them later.

  2. 2

    Establishing a Consistent Sleep Routine


    This is the time to pick a bedtime routine. Some combination of a bath, massage, music, book, and a nice cool room is a great place to start. Settle on a routine that encourages slowing down and creates a calm, quiet environment. Avoid screens in the room where Baby is sleeping, and consider using a wave or white noise machine to help drown out distractions.. And, if you haven’t already, consider switching to a more absorbent diaper–like the Healthybaby Training Pants–for longer periods of dryness overnight.


    Consistent routines encourage flow. They provide security that helps babies organize new information in their brains. Meanwhile, repetition strengthens the connections they are creating every day. Having a consistent bedtime routine can help trigger melatonin production (a hormone that sends out signals that it’s time for sleep). These routines lay the groundwork for smoother transitions in the future, when the baby is more conscious of the world happening outside their crib.

    “Sacred routine on one side and novelty on the other = the framework for engaging.” Dr. Stephen Cowan

Support for You

You already know the impact of sleep on a baby’s mood, growth, and functioning. The impact on the entire family is also worth mentioning. Getting more quality sleep is linked to a reduction in parental stress, plus improved parental health and relationships. There are a lot (A LOT) of opinions out there on what is best sleep-wise for you and for your baby. But no opinion can ever outweigh what feels right for your family. Sleep is a biological necessity. We encourage you to make a plan around sleep learning and to figure out what feels doable. Consistency. Is. Key.

Take a moment to check in with yourself and how you and baby have been doing. Believe it or not, you’ve already paddled a loooong way down the stream from birth.  And don’t forget that ESP is a quickie way to gauge the basics: Eating, sleeping, and pooping give you objective information about the health and well-being of your baby.

If you have any concerns about your answers, or would like to learn more ways to help get you and baby into flow.

Let's Check on the Basics

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Is baby eating?
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Is baby sleeping?
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Is baby pooping?

Yes on all three? Great! One or more No’s? Let’s talk about it.
Book a session with Mariel Benjamin, LCSW - Head of Parenting to dig in.

Book a Session with Mariel
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