Many of the case studies I share about how I use digital notes involve major writing projects, because that is the most challenging kind of project I use my Second Brain for.

But there is a different kind of use case that is just as meaningful: everyday life challenges.

Challenges like troubleshooting the wifi at home, synchronizing your kids’ schedules, fixing a leaky faucet under the kitchen sink, or researching a new car to buy. 

I became a first-time homeowner last year, so home improvement projects are very much on my mind! And in the era of remote work we have entered, the dividing line between home and work projects has become more blurred than ever. 

These “honey do” projects aren’t very impressive, and don’t receive breathless press coverage in the media. But in reality they represent one of the most important functions of your digital notes – taking care of your everyday responsibilities so you are free to use your own mind for the creative and imaginative tasks it is best suited for. 

A few months ago, our infant son Caio hit a major roadblock in his sleep habits, known as a “sleep regression.” After a few blissful months sleeping peacefully all night long in his little crib, like an angel, all of a sudden our nights were thrown into chaos.

He began waking several times every night screaming, interrupting our own sleep for 30 or 40 minutes at a time as we desperately tried to get him back to bed. Needless to say, our productivity, quality of life, and overall happiness levels dropped dramatically during this time. We stumbled around the house like zombies during the day, and cringed in fear at every sigh and hiccup during the night. The burden fell especially hard on my wife, who woke more easily and did most of the feedings.

I knew we needed help. Something had to change.

On my sister’s advice, I downloaded a book called The Happy Sleeper (affiliate link) by Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright, a classic in the genre. In calm, confident tones they introduced a new philosophy of sleep training that I had never heard of before. They advocated neither rocking our son to sleep every time, nor leaving him to “cry it out,” but a middle path of moderation aligned with the latest science and their experience coaching hundreds of couples through this same experience.

But before I was able to put this advice to use, I needed a practical plan. I knew I would never be able to reference the full book during middle-of-the-night feedings with a bellowing infant in my arms. I needed to follow the steps of my CODE Methodology and extract only the information most relevant to my needs.

I started with the first step, Capture. I opened the ebook in the Kindle app on my iPad, and over the course of about 5 days speed-read the book from start to finish. I don’t usually like reading quickly, but I was just as hungry for answers as our son was hungry for milk every night. 

Through an integration with Readwise, all the highlights I made in the ebook showed up automatically in a specially designated Evernote notebook called “Readwise.” Super easy.

You can access my full highlights in Evernote format here, or copy and paste the text beneath the toggle below into your notes app of choice.

By 5 or 6 months of age, almost all babies are capable of sleeping well without much assistance from Mom or Dad. So why do so many families struggle at night? The answer is that most parents do what works today, don’t notice when it’s no longer needed tomorrow, and then keep pushing even harder when it’s become a hindrance the day after that. (Location 79)
 
Over time, parents’ “helping ways” overshadow their baby’s natural sleep abilities. Children get confused as to whether they or their parents are doing the soothing, and parents aren’t sure when and how much to back off so their little ones can take over the job. (Location 84)
 
As parents get stuck in a habit of soothing their little one to sleep, it masks the child’s natural abilities and makes it look as if she can’t sleep on her own. (Location 103)
 
Imagine your child was capable of walking, but you still carried her everywhere instead of letting her practice this new skill! This overhelping is the crux of family sleep problems. (Location 105)
 
Our methods are based on two logical, research-based ideas. One: babies and little kids need warmth, sensitivity, and a sense that the world is a safe place. Two: they thrive best (and sleep best) when they have structure, routine, and clear expectations. (Location 119)
 
It’s estimated that babies and young children get an average of 9½ hours of sleep per night, although experts agree that they need 11 to 12, and roughly one-third of kids have clinical sleep problems. (Location 191)
 
Seventy-five percent of parents with infants and 82 percent of parents with preschoolers say they would change something about their child’s sleep. (Location 193)
 
Infants (3–11 months) 14 to 15 hours (Location 214)
 
SIGNS OF A SLEEP-DEPRIVED CHILD Needs to be woken up in the morning Hyperactive, inattentive, moody, impulsive, or aggressive Falls asleep before scheduled naps if taken on a walk or car ride Sleeps in on the weekends Falls asleep in school Becomes clumsy, irritable, easily frustrated (Location 241)
 
SIGNS OF A WELL-RESTED CHILD Wakes up naturally Alert most of the day or until naptime Doesn’t fall asleep in the stroller or car during the day (in between naptimes) Has more or less the same sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends Has the same nap habits at home and day care or preschool (Location 247)
 
Parents lose about 350 hours of nighttime sleep in the first year of their baby’s life. (Location 297)
 
HERE’S WHAT MAKES A GOOD SLEEPER A warm, attuned parent A pattern of self-soothing Clear family sleep habits A regular schedule that supports natural, biological sleep mechanisms (Location 328)
 
polarized into methods of “crying it out” and “attachment parenting.” The first emphasizes structure and independent sleep; the second tells you to be flexible and responsive to your baby’s needs. These approaches seem to contradict each other. (Location 341)
 
independent sleep and a loving, secure attachment are pitted against each other—as if they are at odds. (Location 344)
 
For the best sleep, you need both the consistency of structured sleep training programs and the responsiveness (or as we will call it here, the “attunement”) of attachment-friendly ideas. (Location 350)
 
two important aspects of healthy sleep—consistency and attunement—and (Location 354)
 
The key is to use your child’s natural tendency to detect patterns and form habits, rather than being hampered by it. Babies and children are pattern-seekers, but they also forget old patterns more quickly than adults—making space in their inner laboratories for new behaviors. (Location 368)
 
Not only do babies and kids look for patterns, they relax when they find them (and we don’t need to tell you how important relaxing is to sleep). (Location 372)
 
Every technique we will teach you (especially for children over 5 months) requires the core element of consistency. (Location 381)
 
As your baby nears 4 months, she becomes very aware and surprisingly sensitive to a predictable and regular routine. By 5 to 6 months, most babies are capable of sleeping through the night and beginning to develop a regular nap schedule. (Location 393)
 
EXERCISE: WAIT, WATCH, AND WONDER (ALSO KNOWN AS LET HIM BE!) This exercise is a great way to watch your baby’s process of internal attunement. See your baby staring at his hands, at the tree branches swaying outside the window, or the light dancing across the ceiling? Wait, don’t do anything. Watch, notice everything you can about what your baby is up to. Wonder, how long will he continue and what will he do next? If your baby is happy and/or focused in his own little world, let him be! Don’t feel as though he needs your constant stimulation and input. How about times when your baby is struggling, persisting, maybe even getting a little frustrated? Maybe he’s reaching for a toy or trying to roll or crawl. Again, despite our impulse to help and rescue, the attuned response is to wait, watch, and wonder. When babies gain this confidence during the day, it strengthens their ability to access it at night. (Location 457)
 
The problem is that when a parent gets in the habit of automatically repeating soothing actions over and over (like bouncing and rocking to sleep), as time goes on, it begins to mask the baby’s budding abilities. On the other hand, a curious parent watches closely and notices moments when the baby is okay on her own and doesn’t need help. The curious stance is the path to knowing when to soothe your baby, while gradually, over time, stepping back to give her space so she can show you what she’s capable of. (Location 519)
 
You can encourage your baby’s grasp of day and night by: Exposing your baby to indirect sunlight during the day. To best signal his internal clock, venture out early in the day. Try for a 10:00 a.m. walk, or sit on the porch at this time. Just remember not to keep your newborn in direct sunlight. (Location 543)
 
Letting him know it’s morning. When your baby wakes up for the day, sing him a song and open the shades to let in sunlight. Gently waking your baby during the day to feed at least every 3 hours. Keeping him in the living areas and activity during the day, and in a dark, quiet room at night. Lowering the lights in the house at night (even if your baby is awake). (Location 546)
 
Given this natural tendency for early rising, putting her down at 7:00 p.m. gives her the best chance of getting the 11 to 12 hours of sleep she needs. Your baby may not seem tired, but that’s okay. The optimal time to put your baby down is not when she’s yawning and fussing, but before this, when she’s quietly cooing or playing. (Location 575)
 
While you’re thinking about bedtime schedules, keep in mind that after the first 8 weeks or so your baby will be ready to sleep approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours after waking up from her last nap, so take her final naptime into consideration. You can gently wake your baby in anticipation of her needing a 90-minute awake period before bedtime. Up to about 3 months or so, many babies can occasionally nap until 6:00 p.m., be gently roused for their bedtime routine, and go right back down at 7:00 p.m. (Location 586)
 
By 4 months, she’ll probably do best with her own sleeping place at home for a consistent bedtime. (Location 592)
 
Bedtime is an aspect of sleep with which we urge you to be very consistent. It might feel like a mechanical adherence to the clock, but remember that your baby has an internal clock that wants things to come at predictable times. (Location 601)
 
Put your bedtime routine in place before you think your baby needs it (6 to 8 weeks is a good time to start) because the predictability helps set the stage for her growing ability to self-soothe. (Location 607)
 
0 TO 2 MONTHS 3 TO 5 MONTHS 5 TO 7 MONTHS Bath Bath Bath Massage Pjs Massage Pjs Feed Pjs Feed Baby-led play Feed Songs while you sway Book(s) Book(s) Bed Songs while you sway Say good night to objects in the room Bed Song while you sway Bed (Location 612)
 
The Soothing, Repetitive Routine Your bedtime routine should be 30 to 45 minutes long at this age and consist of things like a bath, infant massage (see “Baby Massage Basics”), pajamas, books, feeding, songs, and bed. If your tone is warm and calm, the steps of the routine are predictable, and the end of the routine is clear, your baby will learn this and her body will expect the transition to sleep. We like to say that you can stand on your head as the last step of your bedtime routine—it really doesn’t matter, as long as you do it the same way every night! Always end with the same song and keep your last words to your baby, like “Night, night, I love you,” consistent as well. (Location 625)
 
Separate Feeding from Sleep Try not to feed your baby as the very last part of your routine, because it can quickly create a strong association between drinking milk and falling asleep. This sleep association is one of the most likely to interrupt the process of your baby turning inward to soothe herself to sleep. If you look for opportunities to loosen this association now, it will create more space for your baby’s growing ability to self-soothe down the road. Singing a song (the same one every night) between feeding and putting your baby in bed is a great way to end the routine instead. (Location 631)
 
Try putting your baby down and then shushing and patting her a little as she falls asleep instead of lowering her into her sleeping place already asleep. This way, when she wakes during the night, she won’t be surprised to find herself in bed. As you know, all babies are different; at this age, some will still need to be fed to sleep. Just remember to stay curious and be willing to try putting your baby down a little awake. You can read more about putting your baby down awake here. If your little one still relies on being fed to sleep when she’s 5 months old, we’ll show you how to change this pattern in Chapter 4. (Location 635)
 
Baby-Led Play By 3 months of age, babies really like 10 to 15 minutes of quiet, baby-led play as part of their routine. During this time, get down on the floor with your baby and just watch and follow her play. It’s a chance to shift from you doing things to your baby (the way the daytime often goes while you’re feeding, bathing, carrying her, and so forth), to your baby being in charge and showing you what she is interested in. As your baby feels your attention, her brain becomes primed for self-regulation, which will help her sleep. In the first 4 months, baby-led play is very simple; it might just mean mirroring her expressions and following her gaze. (Location 651)
 
Do the Last Steps in the Room Where Your Baby Sleeps Move into the room where your baby is sleeping for the last steps of the routine, dim the lights, slow down your voice and movements, and keep things quiet. Light—both natural and artificial—affects sleep for people of all ages (see here), so dimming lights for an hour before bed (including avoiding TV, computers, and all screens) is helpful to all of us. (Location 657)
 
Your Individual Baby The ingredients of your bedtime routine will depend on your baby. Some babies will clearly indicate at a certain point that they no longer want to lie still for massage or want to get into their bed sooner and get comfortable while you sing the last song or say good night. Some parents sing the last verse as they’re walking out of the room. (Location 660)
 
“Night night, sleep tight, see you in the morning light,” (Location 666)
 
Lay your baby down on a warm, flat, safe surface where you are also comfortable. Put a little pure vegetable oil, such as sweet almond oil, into your palms and rub your hands together to warm the oil. Make eye contact with your baby and let him know you are starting the massage. Wrap your hands around one of his thighs and pull down, one hand following the other. Use a gentle “milking” motion to massage down the length of both legs. When you get to the little feet, use your thumbs and trace circles all over the soles and then gently pull on each toe as you slide your fingers off the end. (Location 670)
 
Place your hands flat over baby’s chest and stroke outward in big, slow circles. With one hand flat across baby’s chest, stroke downward to his thighs on both sides. Take up each little arm and repeat the milking motion from shoulder to hand, rotating the wrists a few times in each direction. Trace circles on baby’s palm with your thumbs and gently pull on each finger, sliding off the end. Gently roll baby to tummy and trace circles on either side of his spine, moving up and down from neck to waist. (Location 676)
 
Finish with long, firm strokes all the way from shoulders to feet. Babies generally like a gentle but firm touch, rather than a super-light, ticklish touch. (Location 682)
 
Follow your baby’s cues and stop if he’s had enough. It’s normal for babies to begin to resist massage as they become more mobile and active; you can build it into another part of your day if and when it no longer helps him wind down at bedtime. (Location 684)
 
QUICK LIST: ENVIRONMENT AND SOOTHING White noise Light Walking, rocking, carrying Swaddling The need for sucking Your nighttime station (Location 691)
 
Instead of using constant, loud, and monotone static white noise, use nature sounds like waves or rain, which have slight variations. (Location 698)
 
Once your baby is about 4 months old, white noise is no longer needed for soothing, but you can certainly keep it as a way to mask noises from inside and outside the house. (Location 700)
 
Even the first hints of sunrise can send alerting signals to your baby, so a very dark room gives him the best chance of sleeping longer. You can achieve this by installing blackout shades, putting up temporary darkening shades, using blackout fabric, or even just taping dark garbage bags over the windows. (Location 703)
 
When your baby wakes up for the day, make sure that his brain and body know it’s daytime. Gently pull back the shades, sit on the porch in indirect sunlight, or go for a walk in the morning to help his developing internal clock. Talk to him and sing a good morning song! (Location 706)
 
Your baby feels soothed by your warmth, the feel of your skin, and the motion as you carry him. (Location 708)
 
Swaddling Newborns have a startle reflex that regularly sends their legs and arms flying. For safety reasons, we put our little ones on their backs for naps and bedtime, but this means that the jerking motion can really disrupt their sleep. Snug swaddles keep limbs hugged toward the body and many babies sleep better this way. Most babies do well being swaddled until they are 2 to 4 months old. (Location 711)
 
Stop swaddling when your baby can roll over at all, in either direction, since it can pose a suffocation risk. (Location 719)
 
Everything you can do to encourage movement and agility will have a positive effect on sleep, because when your baby chooses his own body positions, he’ll sleep better. It may be on his tummy, with an arm outstretched, knees tucked under, bum up in the air . . . you won’t know until he has the chance to practice. (Location 733)
 
This is why we like to see babies graduate into long-sleeved, long-legged cotton onesies with feet (with a similar “blanket sleeper” as a second layer during cold seasons) instead of sleep sacks, which can get twisted or hamper movement. Do everything you can to ensure that, once your baby can roll, he’s free and can move at will around the crib. Now he can shift around and resettle during the night, just like the rest of us. (Location 735)
 
Many babies have a strong need for sucking (which is separate from their need for nourishment), so you can encourage either thumb or pacifier use to satisfy this need and improve the capacity to self-soothe. The current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is to use a pacifier for bedtime and naps, but you don’t need to reinsert it if it falls out during the night (Location 746)
 
Pacifiers Pacifiers take a lot longer for your baby to be able to insert solo, but they are much easier to take away when the time is right. (Location 750)
 
Thumbs Thumbs are readily available, easier to insert (once they learn how), and don’t get lost in the crib. The downside can be that it’s trickier to stop thumb sucking down the road (although most children will naturally stop thumb sucking if it isn’t given any attention or judgment). (Location 752)
 
Your Nighttime Station It will help both you and your baby if you can prepare the items you’ll need overnight and put them in a convenient place before bed so you don’t need to do any extra work when your baby wakes up. Put diapers, wipes, an extra set of pajamas, a glass of water, your feeding pillow, and anything else you might need for nighttime awakenings right next to your bed. Have a dim nightlight next to you and keep your feedings as unstimulating as possible (try to resist chatting with your adorable bundle at this hour of the night). If your baby is within arm’s reach, you may not even have to get out of bed to take care of him and put him back down again. (Location 755)
 
Offer a pacifier at naptime and bedtime. Having a pacifier while falling asleep has been shown to reduce SIDS risk. (Location 774)

Updated: Mar 21, 2021
 
QUICK LIST: ENCOURAGE SELF-SOOTHING 1. Put your baby down awake. Look for opportunities to put your baby down awake at least once a day. A major reason babies wake up and cry is because they find themselves in a sleeping place they didn’t go into knowingly. 2. Loosen the feeding-sleep association. Gently remove breast or bottle at the end of a feeding before baby falls asleep. (Location 803)
 
3. Discern your baby’s sounds. If baby is fussing, whining, grunting, squawking, babbling, or making any other such noise, resist the urge to swoop in! Babies can be very noisy on their way to self-soothing. (Location 807)
 
4. Use the Soothing Ladder to avoid overhelping. If your baby wakes up at night and cries for about a minute, be curious about the least intrusive thing you can do to settle her. (Location 810)
 
5. Don’t let your baby cry for more than a minute. As you’re encouraging self-soothing, don’t let your baby cry for more than a minute during the first 4 months. (Location 812)
 
6. Daytime independence. Look for moments during the day when your baby is happy to hang out solo. What better way to nurture confidence and self-regulation. (Location 814)
 
7. Transitional object. Also known as a lovey or blankie, this is a soft, special object your baby can use to help her self-soothe. (Location 815)
 
8. Tummy time. Tummy time is important for your baby’s sleep. Once she can roll and move (usually around 4 months), your baby has skills for getting comfy and sleeping well. (Location 817)
 
Imagine you, the parent, are the scaffolding and your child is the building. You know that scaffolding around a growing building gives just enough support to allow the building to grow, and is gradually taken down as the building gets stronger. In the same way, you are ready to give your baby just enough support to grow and progress, while allowing her to struggle a little as she gets stronger and shows her new, budding skills. (Location 828)
 
Gradually fading these sleep associations in the early months, when a baby’s awareness is lower, can be very effective and easier than doing it later. (Location 837)
 
If your baby cries for more than about 1 minute, you can use the Soothing Ladder to calm him and then try to put him down drowsy again. You can do this over and over until he falls asleep. (Location 850)
 
If you pay attention to when swallowing (slower, steady, with clear swallows) turns to pacifying (faster, more fluttery, little or no swallowing), you can gently take her off the nipple, lay her in her bed, and either allow her to fall asleep without sucking, or help her suck on thumb or pacifier if she prefers that. (Location 864)
 
The Soothing Ladder Method This method works for the first 4 to 5 months; the earlier you start, the better. (Location 893)
 
You start at the bottom of the ladder and spend roughly 30 seconds trying to soothe her, moving up a step if it doesn’t work. Maybe one night your baby is calmed by you patting and rubbing her back, but another night all she needs is a soft song or shushing. You won’t know unless you start from the bottom and take small steps up. Don’t swoop in with the “big guns” (usually a feeding) right away. (Location 896)
 
A typical sleep ladder for a young baby is: 7. Feeding her 6. Picking her up to gently rock until soothed but still awake 5. Jiggling baby in the bed 4. Your touch, patting on the back, rubbing head or tummy, hand over top of the head, and so forth 3. Replacing the pacifier and/or lovey 2. The sound of your voice, talking, singing, shushing 1. Your presence in the room (Location 905)
 
Start with number 1 on your list and spend around 15 to 30 seconds on each rung of the ladder until you get to the one that works. Do not feel compelled to go all the way up the ladder each time. You can stop when you notice your baby settling. (Location 914)
 
For example: You hear your baby cry out and you determine that this is a “come here!” cry. You go in and shush her, but she keeps crying, so you find her lovey and pat her on the back. If she starts to calm down, keep patting and shushing rather than picking her up. (Location 916)
 
when they create and use the Soothing Ladder, they’re amazed to see that a step farther down actually works. Each time this happens, it creates a new learning opportunity for the baby. New pathways in her brain are formed, practiced, and strengthened every time she has these experiences. (Location 920)
 
For these babies, crying is a form of stress release. (Location 938)
 
Stage 1 Keep it with you and your baby as much as possible, especially when you’re cuddling and feeding, so it has your scent and is associated with comfort (you could even sleep with the lovey for a few nights so it smells like Mom or Dad). (Location 948)
 
Stage 2 Once your baby shows signs of being attached to the lovey (rubbing it on his face, feeling it with her fingers, or grasping it), typically between 5 and 12 months of age, keep it in the crib for sleeping only, so she has a special way to soothe herself that evokes sleepy feelings. Keeping the lovey in the crib and using it only for sleep protects its “potency.” Babies are often very happy to get into bed and see their treasured lovey waiting for them. (Location 950)
 
A lovey is typically a small (size of a cloth diaper) blanket, cloth, or unstuffed animal. You can introduce the lovey any time you want (see “Safe Sleeping Practices” for more on safe loveys in the first 4 months), but generally, the sooner the better. For those babies who do attach to their lovey, the benefit to sleep is significant, and it can continue to help with sleep for years to come, both at home and when you travel. It’s a good idea to have multiples on hand. (Location 954)
 
Regular tummy time will give your baby the strength and coordination she needs to roll, rotate, tuck her legs under her, or anything else she needs to do to get into a comfortable sleep position. When this happens, it’s a whole new world for your baby because she gets to choose her favorite body position instead of being stuck in the one you put her in. (Location 959)
 
TIPS FOR TUMMY TIME Aim for 10 minutes per waking hour. If your baby can only last for 30 seconds in the beginning, just put her down frequently for those short bursts. (Location 981)
 
If her arm gets stuck underneath her, lift the hip on the same side of her body to allow her to pull her arm out. The idea is for your baby to participate in moving to her tummy instead of feeling like she’s been stuck there. (Location 985)
 
If your newborn is hopelessly face planting, use a small, rolled-up receiving blanket under her chest at armpit level, with her arms reaching forward. Feeding pillows are not a good idea as they give too much support and keep baby from the workout she needs. (Location 987)
 
Your baby’s favorite thing to look at is your face, so what better way to entertain her and “grow” tummy time than to get right down at eye level with her. Sing, make funny faces, and let her know that you know it’s hard. (Location 990)
 
You can help your baby learn to turn her head to one side and the other; this will help her sleep easily on her tummy once she learns to roll. (Location 997)
 
Your young baby does not need (nor is her body ready for) a nap schedule until she is roughly 5 to 7 months old. (Location 1028)
 
after about the age of 2 months, she will start to feel drowsy around 90 minutes after waking up (before this age, she’ll flicker in and out of sleep much more quickly). There is a magical little window here when falling asleep is easy. When you’ve missed the window and she’s overtired, she may yawn, pull her ears, rub her eyes, cry, or appear a little wired. At this point, falling asleep becomes more difficult because her nervous system is overwhelmed and dysregulated. This 90-minute rule of thumb applies to the start of your baby’s day, and also to each window of time she’s awake after a nap, throughout the day. (Location 1033)
 
THE 90-MINUTE STEPS Roughly 75 minutes after your baby wakes up (for the day or from her last nap) or whenever you see the subtle cues listed below, start a simple, soothing, 15-minute naptime routine. (Location 1042)
 
At the 90-minute mark, put your baby down. Parents are continually shocked and thrilled by how much this helps. (Location 1045)
 
Even if your baby only naps for 15 minutes, the 90-minute rule usually still applies from the time she blinks awake. Remember this if you’re on a stroller walk or in the car and your baby catnaps. (Location 1046)
 
staring off into space, dazed look in eyes reduced activity less interest in surroundings (Location 1053)
 
Often the first nap of the day can come very easily after only 60 minutes of awake time. (Remember that the first nap is also often the easiest one to practice putting baby down a little awake). If you see that your 0- to 4-month-old baby seems tired, even though 90 minutes have not passed, it’s best to follow these cues and put her down to sleep. (Location 1056)
 
For the first 3 to 5 months, the 90-minute rule will be very helpful. If you feel your baby is growing out of the 90-minute rule, see Chapter 4 for older baby nap routines and schedules. (Location 1059)
 
Around 2 to 4 months, your baby will be awake for longer stretches. At this point, it’s typical for babies to catnap—sleeping for 20 to 30 minutes (Location 1067)
 
Soon your baby will be rolling and moving on his own to the most comfy sleep position. Once that happens, the length of his naps will grow to a span of 1 to 3 hours. If you’d like to see where your baby’s daytime sleep will be later on, you can look at Chapter 4, here, for older baby nap schedule examples. (Location 1072)
 
Remember that even a catnap counts when it comes to the 90-minute awake span. Short naps may still relieve your baby’s drowsiness (and release the built-up pressure of his sleep drive, described in Chapter 8) enough so that he won’t go back to sleep again—it’s like a power nap. (Location 1075)
 
Allow your baby to sleep where you feel it works best, just keep in mind that it’s really helpful to have him practice napping in his regular sleeping place, too (his bassinet, co-sleeper, or crib); aim to put your baby down for a nap in his regular sleeping place at least once a day. Often the first nap of the day is the easiest one to practice this. (Location 1080)
 
QUICK LIST: NAP TIPS 1. The 90-minute rule. Your baby will be ready for sleep after roughly 90 minutes of awake time in the morning and after each nap. Watch the clock and start your 15-minute naptime routine 75 minutes after her last awakening so that you can put her down at the 90-minute mark. (Location 1089)
 
2. Naptime routine. This will be similar to the bedtime routine (but shorter) and consistent each day. Don’t skip the routine. Be sure to put it into place before your baby seems to need it. The nap routine becomes more important as your baby nears 3 months. (Location 1094)
 
5. Room environment. Make the room where baby sleeps dark and quiet for naps. Use blackout shades. White noise, like nature sounds or a low fan, is very calming, especially during the first 3 to 4 months. (Location 1101)
 
also, a short nap should be perceived as a successful one. (Location 1107)
 
for babies roughly 2 months and older, the 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. hour is when they’re actually ready for bed. (Location 1112)
 
Put your baby down after every 90-minute span of awake time throughout the day. If your baby is 6 weeks or older and seems to be drowsy and has a longer stretch of sleep in the early evening, consider an early bedtime, around 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. (Location 1114)
 
Reduce stimulation like bright overhead lighting as the evening progresses. (Location 1125)
 
Colic is often defined by the “rule of three”: crying at least 3 hours per day, more than three days per week, for three weeks’ duration or more (Location 1131)
 
If it is colic, the good news is that it does get better—in fact, it almost always seems to disappear magically (and thankfully) by 4 months of age. (Location 1137)
 
Around 3 to 4 months in particular, many babies hit a rough patch with sleep; even those who are champion sleepers as newborns sometimes start to wake up more frequently at this age. It can be frustrating and confusing for parents, who keep hearing that things get easier at 3 months, only to find their infant wide-eyed at 2:00 a.m. You can’t imagine how many times we’ve heard moms and dads exclaim about their 4-month-old, “He thinks he’s a newborn again!” (Location 1160)
 
Look for early cues that your baby is ready to feed, such as increased alertness, physical activity, mouthing, or rooting, rather than waiting for crying, which can be a late sign of hunger. (Location 1202)
 
6 Weeks to 4 Months (Location 1210)
 
By 4 months, one to two middle-of-the-night feedings are enough for most babies. (Location 1215)
 
At this age, if you have fed your baby within the last 1 to 3 hours and he wakes at night, this is a good opportunity to broaden his repertoire of soothing by trying other ways to help him get back to sleep. (Location 1216)
 
Around 3 to 5 months, it is common for babies to temporarily wake up more frequently—ready to play and excited at the novelty of their new awareness. It’s natural to mistake this as a growth spurt and add in night feedings. As you know, babies rarely turn down an offer of milk during the night, so his eagerness to feed is not an accurate indicator of hunger. Review “Sleep Regression.” (Location 1218)
 
Hold your baby in an almost upright position while holding the bottle almost horizontal, tipped just enough to fill the nipple with milk. Keep gravity from speeding the flow of milk, again mimicking the pacing of the breast as much as possible. (Location 1237)
 
Depending on how much milk your breasts are able to store, you may eventually go for 7 to 8 hours without feeding or pumping. Many moms will pump right before they go to sleep and then either feed or pump again 7 to 8 hours later. (Location 1264)
 
Since babies’ highest risk for SIDS is before 3 to 4 months, a good time to move your baby to her own room is around 4 to 6 months. It’s a personal decision that can be influenced by your baby’s growing awareness of and activation by your presence in the room, as well as your desire to have your personal space back. (Location 1317)
 
Remember that if your baby can roll to his tummy, for safety reasons, it’s time to get rid of the swaddle. (Location 1333)
 
the majority of babies sprout their first tooth between 4 and 7 months. What typically precedes the appearance of a tooth is a prolonged period of drooling, chewing on everything, and a range of very low to mild discomfort and fussiness. (Location 1340)
 
If you’re noticing extra fussiness during the day and decreased interest in feeding, and you can see little clear or whitish bumps (the bottom middle and top middle teeth, in that order, are typically the first to come in), there’s a pretty good chance that your baby is about to cut a tooth. (Location 1342)
 
If your baby is actively cutting a tooth (meaning it’s currently coming through the gums), and sleep has clearly been derailed, consider addressing the pain so that he can get good sleep during the two to three days it usually takes. Talk to your pediatrician about giving a pain medication thirty minutes before bedtime, and make sure you use the correct dose. You can also use homeopathic remedies or whatever you have found to be helpful—just be sure to clear this with your doctor. By addressing the pain during the two to three nights of active cutting, you are helping your baby to get the sleep he needs so that he can better tolerate the pain during the day, without adding sleep deprivation to his plate. (Location 1346)
 
Acute teething pain usually lasts no more than two to three days, so try to be aware of not assuming that your baby needs more help at night for weeks because of teething. (Location 1352)
 
TEETHING TIP Give your baby a cold, wet washcloth or gel-filled teether to chew on before daytime feedings. The coolness (avoid the freezer as it can be too cold) can help to numb her gums a bit and up the chances that she’ll have a full feeding. (Location 1355)
 
This early need for movement is finite—it won’t last. As their brains quickly mature, babies are ready for the next step and will sleep better without the movement, just like we do. (Location 1366)
 
If your baby is still reliant on movement to fall asleep when she reaches 5 months, we will help you change this pattern in the next chapter. (Location 1369)
 
More babies than not will move to these alarmingly short catnaps of about 30 minutes, anytime between about 2 and 6 months of age. Once your baby’s brain and body mature even more and she can roll to her favorite sleep position, her naps will lengthen again. The tips most likely to support your baby’s progress toward longer naps are: Put your baby down awake. Discern your baby’s sounds (at the end of a short nap, don’t rush in!). Give your baby plenty of tummy time between naps. (Location 1381)
 
Some parents have success using the Soothing Ladder at the end of a very short nap to get baby back to sleep quickly to “finish” their nap. This is always a good thing to try from time to time, as the day will come when your baby is ready to stretch out that nap. In the meantime, during the catnap phase, don’t worry, and know that it’s perfectly normal. (Location 1386)
 
The world is just too exciting now and she needs her familiar cues and nonstimulating environment to fall asleep, just like you probably do. (Location 1395)
 
4. Baby + Toddler (5 Months to 2 Years) (Location 1412)
 
You’ll establish an early and consistent bedtime, a regular nap schedule, and a pattern of self-soothing that helps your baby fall asleep independently and sleep through the night. In this chapter, we’ll teach you the Sleep Wave, a technique for falling asleep independently that you can use with babies 5 months and older, as well as toddlers and even preschoolers. We’ll also walk you through how to approach feeding and weaning at night, (Location 1454)
 
What looks to parents like their child’s sleep problem is often just the result of unhelpful sleep associations. Sleep associations are the conditions under which your child falls asleep that, over time, she links to the act of soothing and sleeping. (Location 1479)
 
The goal is to put your baby to bed with her as a conscious, knowing participant—without any sneaking out or surprises. (Location 1484)
 
You will always help your child with comforting routines, stories, songs, cuddles, and so forth, but once she’s in her crib or bed, if there is anything you do that she can’t do herself later, you will want to replace this with a soothing method she can be in charge of all night long. (Location 1492)
 
Multiple research studies have found that babies and toddlers who are put into bed already asleep are more likely to wake up during the night and less likely to be self-soothers. (Location 1518)
 
Light Your child is exquisitely attuned to light, which is the primary signal to her internal clock (see Chapter 8). Install blinds or hang curtains that block early morning rays and make the room very dark for naptime (we often ask parents if their baby’s room is dark and they say it definitely is; when we look for ourselves, we see that it’s not even close to being dark enough). Bright home lights can suppress the release of melatonin (which naturally rises as we near bedtime) and interfere with your child’s ability to fall asleep. In the evening, lower the lights in the house an hour before bedtime and use a dim lamp during bedtime routine to help your child’s body wind down. (Location 1525)
 
In the morning, pull back the shades—this is like pressing “start” on your child’s internal clock. (Location 1531)
 
Sound Use a low fan or nature sounds to block ambient noise, from siblings, barking dogs, and so forth. (Location 1533)
 
Smell Keep the air fresh in your child’s room, so that the smell and air quality are pleasant. Open the windows during the day to let air circulate. Use a low fan or air purifier to keep a gentle flow of moving air. (Location 1534)
 
Feel Give your child a comfortable, firm sleep surface and soft sheets (make sure to follow safe sleeping guidelines). (Location 1536)
 
Temperature Keep the room cool, around 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. It may sound chilly, but cooler temperatures are generally better for sleep. (Location 1539)
 
One of the best ways to help your baby sleep is to set an early and consistent bedtime—between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. works well for most. (Location 1545)
 
Try not to wait until she shows classically “tired” signs like yawning and rubbing her eyes—the optimal bedtime is when your baby is quietly talking, playing, and in a good mood. (Location 1548)
 
For parents who work late and aren’t able to get baby down at 7:00 p.m., 7:30 or even 8:00 p.m. is okay, as long as baby still gets at least 11 hours of sleep. Some babies adjust better to a later bedtime than others. (Location 1562)
 
The “what” of the routine doesn’t matter as much as the “how.” Even turning on a certain type of music, lowering the lights in the house, and doing very small behaviors such as drawing the curtains, turning on the fan, saying good night to objects in the room with a quiet voice, or arranging blankets just so become a cue for sleep if you repeat these steps every night. Drowsiness develops into a Pavlovian-like response for your baby if your actions are calm and consistent. Watch the way your simple behaviors, if they’re slow, almost methodical and consistent, can trigger a calming reflex in your baby. (Location 1603)
 
It’s best to do the last steps of your routine in your baby’s bedroom, and the very last step (for example, singing a song) with the lights out, so that your baby has a moment with you in the dark before you leave the room. (Location 1608)
 
Dim Lights and Disconnect Dim the lights in your home an hour before bedtime to help your child’s brain and body wind down. Avoid having your baby watch TV before bed, as this can delay her ability to fall asleep. It’s also better not to make TV a strong sleep association that your baby, and eventually your child, grows into needing. (Location 1609)
 
Use dim lights for nightlights (red light has the least powerful effect on melatonin secretion, so you could replace your baby’s nightlight with a red bulb, which will be the least alerting light source). (Location 1616)
 
Baby-Led Play Baby-led play warms up your child’s self-soothing skills before bedtime. To do this, you simply get down on the ground and follow your baby’s interests and play behaviors for 10 to 20 minutes. This is an option—try it out and see if it helps you and your baby shift modes. If it fits in your bedtime routine (it’s often easier to accommodate if you have only one child), you can decide when in the routine it will come. (Location 1628)
 
At 5 to 6 months, baby-led play can be simply watching your baby practice rolling, picking up a similar toy, and occasionally narrating what she is doing or mirroring her movements and sounds. As her play grows more complex and creative, you may be called upon to join your child in imaginary play. The key is that it’s calm and that you follow rather than lead. (Location 1631)
 
If you put your baby to sleep at the beginning of the night using feeding, motion, or something similar, this is the place to start to improve her sleep. (Location 1639)
 
At this age and older, it’s difficult to change this pattern gradually (for example, by using the Soothing Ladder in Chapter 3). To transfer the role of soothing to your baby after 4 to 5 months of age, you’ll need a sleep approach that is very clear. (Location 1642)
 
We often find that the same feeding, swinging, or rocking that supports newborn sleep seems to hinder an older baby’s sleep. Over time, as parents continue to help their child, sleep plateaus or even regresses. These are some signs that your baby’s cognitive development is clicking along, her awareness is growing, and she is ready to shift to doing the soothing herself: Your “helping ways,” like feeding, rocking, or strolling, begin taking longer and longer to get your child to sleep. Your baby wakes more during the night, skips naps, or takes very short naps. Your baby wakes up the minute you lower her into the crib or very soon after. Your baby arches her back or struggles slightly as you hold and try to soothe her to sleep. Rather than becoming sleepier, your baby seems activated by your presence. (Location 1645)
 
These are signs that you, with the best of intentions, are actually getting in the way of your baby’s sleep. (Location 1653)
 
Read through this entire section before starting to use the Sleep Wave (you can use the Sleep Wave Planner in the Appendix). (Location 1665)
 
Before You Start the Sleep Wave 1. Review Healthy Sleep Habits. Make sure you have put the Healthy Sleep Habits, which are outlined earlier in this chapter, in place. Please read through this section before moving forward. (Location 1669)
 
2. Make Adjustments to the Room Environment. Make sure that you have the right bedroom elements (here) in place and that your child is comfortable and familiar with her room. If your baby is sleeping in your room, but your goal is for her to transition to her own room, this is a good time to do it. Allow her a little awake playtime to get comfortable in her room before starting your sleep plan. You can “dress” the crib in her new room for play, adding a bright sheet, toys, and maybe a mobile, during the day. Have her spend some playtime in there for a few days, both with you nearby and on her own. Redress the crib for sleep and… (Location 1672)
 
3. When you start the Sleep Wave, you’ll be removing your “unhelpful” sleep associations while making sure all “helpful” ones are in place. For example, it’s a good idea to… (Location 1678)
 
4. Set Your Baby’s Schedule. In the Healthy Sleep Habits section, we asked you to set an early bedtime. Now that you’re starting the Sleep Wave, you’ll also set your child’s wake-up time to be at least eleven hours after bedtime. So, for example, if bedtime is 7:00 p.m., then wake-up time will be no earlier than 6:00… (Location 1681)
 
5. Choose the Right Time Is your family ready for a structured sleep plan? Make sure: Your baby is at least 5 months old (if you’re considering the Sleep Wave with a younger baby, see here). There is no minimum weight requirement for using the Sleep Wave. However, if you are thinking about weaning from night feedings and you have any concerns about your baby’s weight gain, growth, or health in general, consult your doctor. You and your baby are healthy and have no vaccines scheduled in the next 2 weeks.… (Location 1684)
 
6. Parents Must Be on the Same Page. We can’t emphasize enough how important consistency is when you’re working on sleep, and one of the most common places for a break in consistency is between the behaviors of each parent. This happens for many reasons: one parent badly wants a change, while the other feels fine with the status quo; one parent feels uncomfortable with the plan; one parent is an expert on the plan but the other isn’t fully versed… (Location 1692)
 
This is why we strongly recommend that, if there are two parents in the house, both of you read this chapter and then sit down together and write out the plan for yourselves (you can use the “Sleep Wave Planner” tool in the Appendix). Your baby will pick up on your calm consistency and feel secure when all parties are… (Location 1697)
 
The Sleep Wave is the way to do both—respond and let your child know you’re close, while making it crystal clear to her that soothing to sleep is her job. Your goal here is to “pass the baton” of soothing to your child. (Location 1709)
 
You are like a wave as you respond to your baby. (Location 1716)
 
the Sleep “Wave” is that we want you, the parent, to imagine yourself as a wave in the ocean. Your repetitive, rhythmic visits, as you roll in and out, are a constant, predictable response for your child. You come and go in a reliable way, and this is key to a healthy attachment. Your baby—who is a natural little scientist, constantly looking for patterns—will learn how you move through this method, always responding to let her know you’re there, but not reverting to doing the soothing for her. Once she detects, tests, and finally trusts your wave pattern, she will relax, turn inward, and access her own self-soothing abilities. (Location 1718)
 
For the fastest learning, we recommend using the Sleep Wave starting at bedtime and continuing to use it in exactly the same way with any nighttime wakings, after any nighttime feedings, and with naps the next day—this… (Location 1723)
 
The Exact Steps of the Sleep Wave 1. Put your baby down awake. After bedtime routine, put your baby down drowsy but awake. Give her a pat and say a few words, like “It’s time for sleeping. Mommy’s right outside. I love you,” and leave the room. The statement you say before leaving the room is your “script,” which you will use during your visits if your child is crying. Create your own script and write it down so you and anyone else who puts your baby to sleep is saying and doing exactly the same thing. It’s crucial that it is repeated word for word and not changed or expanded. Good to know: Your baby’s brain has an abundance of “mirror neurons” that absorb emotions from people around her. Approach this process with confidence so that your baby feels good about sleep. Be positive and envision a good outcome—your baby is very sensitive to your physical and emotional state. Your tone should be calm and matter-of-fact. What you’re conveying to your baby is that you believe in her abilities and will respond reliably until she trusts the new pattern. 2. The 5-minute check. If your baby starts to cry (really cry—not just fuss, squawk, or whine), wait for 5 minutes. Go into the room, stand either at the door or at the side of the crib (somewhere where your baby can see and hear you), and say your script in a matter-of-fact, confident tone. Your visit should only last as long as it takes to walk in, say your script, and walk out (about 7 to 10 seconds). The check is only to let baby know you’re there. The check is not at all meant to calm her down or help her fall asleep. Don’t soothe, touch, or pick your baby up. Let your baby sense that you give her credit for what you know she’s capable of, and you will continue to do your checks until she trusts the pattern and falls asleep. This is key. Initially, the parent who feels more confident is the best one to do the checks, but you can alternate parents, too. If one parent needs to step outside the house to regroup while the other one takes over and does the checks, that’s okay! It’s not uncommon for babies to protest and cry for 20 to 60 minutes at bedtime, and occasionally this period is longer on the second or third night. Good to know: When the Sleep Wave isn’t working as well as we expect, it’s often because the parent is staying in the room too long, trying to calm, soothe, and help. The paradox is that the… (Location 1727)
 
We recommend checking on your child every 5 minutes so that her tears are ones of protest, not worry, fear, or abandonment. (Location 1801)
 
Five-minute checks keep baby in the protest state, so she doesn’t move into a state of wondering, worrying, fear, or abandonment. (Location 1807)
 
Create your own or use ours: It’s okay for my baby to struggle or feel frustrated. My baby is protesting because we’re changing a strong pattern. She has feelings about it, and that’s okay! I’m helping my baby get enough sleep, so that she is healthy and feels rested during the day. She needs to sleep well. I want her brain and body to get the “nutrition” they need from adequate sleep. We, as parents, need to get back to sleeping normally so we can be attentive and available to our children during the day. I want my baby to go to bed feeling confident in her ability to get comfortable and fall asleep on her own. Picture your child sleeping peacefully and how much the family will enjoy one another when you’ve all slept well. I want my baby to acquire healthy sleep habits for a lifetime. I want my baby’s sleep development to be on track rather than delayed. We, as parents, are ready to feel better rested so we can have some time for each other. Our mantra for you: Every time you complete a 5-minute check consistently, a big chunk of money goes into your “bank account.” You are accruing sleep wealth. If you break the pattern, you lose all of your money! (Location 1810)
 
But also remember, if you blur the lines by soothing him even a little on your visit, it will confuse him and prolong the process. Give him space to practice his skills. Exude confidence in him; he will absorb that feeling. (Location 1839)
 
When parents try “gentle” methods that involve a greater amount of soothing on the parents’ part, it tends to make the baby cry even more (because he’s confused) or, if it doesn’t work, it results in parents taking a harsher approach or not responding to the baby at all—which we would never advise. (Location 1842)
 
TOP ELEVEN REASONS THE SLEEP WAVE ISN’T WORKING: (Location 1857)
 
It’s important that baby has enough naps during the day, as this improves regulation and the ability to fall asleep easily. Naps should end by 3:30 or 4:30 p.m. (Location 1863)
 
Baby needs more tummy-time exercise during the day so he’s free to move around the crib and choose his own sleep position. See “Tips for Tummy Time.” (Location 1867)
 
Move the feeding earlier in your bedtime routine and read a story, sing songs, or walk around and tell everything in the room “good night,” as the last steps before going in the crib. This also allows baby’s tummy to settle before being put down. (Location 1872)
 
When a baby first sits or pulls to a stand, he often needs your help lying back down during each 5-minute check. Once you know that he can get back down by himself, you can let him be. (Location 1878)
 
Babies and little kids are very prone to waking up early because they are easily cued by morning light and their internal clocks tell them to rise roughly with the sun. (Location 1911)
 
The problem is that even though babies and toddlers often wake up at 5:00 or 5:30 a.m., they typically aren’t ready to wake up at this hour, in that their bodies actually need another hour of sleep. (Location 1915)
 
Here’s how you can work with this problem and stretch your baby’s wake-up time. Don’t put your baby to bed later, hoping she’ll sleep later. Your baby will likely wake up at the same time, or even earlier if you do this—the difference is that she’ll have had even less sleep. Surprisingly, putting your baby to bed 30 minutes earlier often helps her sleep later the next morning. This is because well-rested babies are less likely to wake up during the early morning hours. If your baby wakes up before 6:00 a.m. and she is grumbling, fussing, or talking, you can let her be. You don’t have to go in. If your baby starts to cry, wait 5 minutes and use your Sleep Wave checks until her scheduled wake-up time. When the clock strikes 6:00 a.m., and if your baby is awake, go to her and let her know it’s morning, say hello, open the blinds, feed her, and signal to her that it’s time to start the day. (Location 1919)
 
If you do this at 5:30 a.m. when your baby wakes, it regulates her internal clock to expect feeding and social interaction at that time. When you hold the boundary of 6:00 a.m. (or 11 hours after bedtime), her internal clock will begin to adjust accordingly. It’s okay if your baby doesn’t fall asleep again—keeping her in her sleeping space and holding off on feeding, social interaction, and light until the wake-up time will still work—it’s just going to take some time. (Location 1930)
 
It can take two to three weeks or more for your baby to shift into waking up at the right time. (Location 1933)
 
If you go in at 5:40 a.m. one morning, you can expect your baby to wake up at that time the next day, or even earlier (Location 1935)
 
Make sure your baby’s room is very dark and you’ve blocked early morning sunrays, keep to your Sleep Wave plan until 6:00 a.m., and your baby will adjust eventually. In the meantime, make sure you go to bed extra early during this time to get the best possible night’s sleep yourself. (Location 1937)
 
This is a tricky principle about night feeding—over time, it can become more of a habit than a necessity. Just because your baby wants to eat doesn’t mean he needs to eat; we like to say that if you fed us a sandwich at midnight, for three nights in a row, we’d probably wake up at that time on the fourth night with a rumbling tummy, looking for our sandwich! Even if your baby does eat at night, after 5 to 6 months, he is likely capable of getting all the calories he needs in the daytime instead. (Location 1966)
 
Contrary to much of what you might read, we have found, over many years of practice, that a very gradual weaning is the most effective, because your baby is less likely to notice and miss the slight decrease in milk each night. This is also the most sensitive approach, as we can be confident that your baby doesn’t feel hungry as he’s trying to fall back to sleep. (Location 1974)
 
You will use these guidelines while you implement one of the “weaning methods” below. If you’re breast-feeding, decrease 30 seconds, every other night. If you’re bottle-feeding, decrease ½ ounce, every other night. It may seem painstakingly slow to wean this way, but once your baby becomes an expert in falling asleep on his own (as you use the Sleep Wave), he may naturally drop feedings on his own, which speeds up the weaning process. This often happens when babies are accustomed to feeding as a way to pacify to sleep (rather than strictly out of hunger). (Location 1979)
 
Weaning Guidelines (Location 1993)
 
Weaning Examples (Location 2014)
 
Weaning Method 1—Following Your Baby’s Lead (Location 2048)
 
Weaning Method 2—Following a Schedule (Location 2061)
 
Maintaining Your Milk Supply (Location 2086)
 
By the age of 5 months and older, the opposite is true: too much milk right before bed or during the night becomes activating to babies, waking up their digestive systems and creating lots of peeing and big wet diapers. Think of your baby as you would yourself from this age on. If you drank a ton of liquid at bedtime and throughout the night, your body would have a hard time sleeping as well! (Location 2097)
 
Introduce a brand-new food in the morning so that you have time to observe your baby for any type of reaction, and so that his body has time to digest the food before bedtime. (Location 2107)
 
Favor keeping his naptimes and bedtimes consistent and fit the meals in when he’s awake. Sometimes that will mean giving a little snack or a mini lunch between naps, in order to fit everything in. Now it’s especially good to remember to move milk feedings earlier in your naptime and bedtime routines (or remove them completely when baby is ready) so as to disassociate feeding with falling asleep. (Location 2110)
 
5 months three naps (if baby catnaps, she may even take four naps a day) 9 months two naps 15 to 20 months one nap 3½ to 5 years Most children stop napping in this age range. (Location 2120)
 
Evaluate your baby’s nap environment for any unhelpful sleep associations (here). The most common unhelpful ones at naptime are stroller or car rides, parent’s presence, feeding, or rocking to sleep. For the best sleep, your baby should go into her crib or regular sleeping place calm but awake, so that she can grab her blankie, roll around, talk to herself, get comfy, and doze off. (Location 2134)
 
Your nap routine can be a shortened version of your nighttime routine. For example, turn down the lights and close the shades, nurse or feed your baby, read a short book, switch on her white noise, walk around the room saying “good night” to her toys, sing a song, put her in her crib, say “It’s time for sleeping, Mommy’s right outside. I love you,” and walk out. (Location 2140)
 
Transitional object. Since your baby is now in charge of her own soothing to sleep, a lovey will help her find comfort and it can be a powerful tool for sleep both at night and for naps (see here for more on loveys). (Location 2143)
 
The fastest way for your baby to practice falling asleep on her own is to use the Sleep Wave for both bedtime and naps, so that she detects a consistent pattern of how she is put down for sleep. (Location 2150)
 
After you put your baby down for a nap, if you’ve been doing consistent 5-minute checks and she continues to cry for 30 to 45 minutes with no sign of progress, go in and simply say, “Okay, naptime is over” and pick her up. Try again in another 45 minutes or so. (Location 2152)
 
If your baby sleeps for a short time (20 to 45 minutes) and starts to cry when she wakes, only wait about a minute and go pick her up. It rarely works for a baby to put herself back to sleep after a short nap, because the pressure of her sleep drive has been relieved just enough so she’s not sufficiently drowsy anymore. (Location 2154)
 
Coming to get her when her babbles clearly change to calls for you is a great opportunity for an attuned, rather than automatic, response. (Location 2160)
 
many babies fall asleep easily at bedtime after just days of using the Sleep Wave but continue to have trouble falling asleep at naptime or taking short naps for several weeks. It’s okay—her nighttime sleep is the most important. Your baby will eventually nap well. (Location 2166)
 
Then, when your baby is 6 to 7 months old and over, you can establish a set nap schedule based on the time of day (see nap schedules). Age is just a guide. When your baby starts to fall asleep independently and sleeps for at least an hour at a time, it’s a good sign that she’s ready to move to a time-of-day schedule. (Location 2171)
 
OPTIMAL SPAN OF AWAKE TIME 5 to 6 months 1½ to 2½ hours (sometimes with one 3-hour span in the last half of the day) 9 months 3 to 3½ hours 15 to 20 months 4 to 5 hours (depending on the length of nap) (Location 2176)
 
Continue to nap your baby throughout the day, having the last nap end no later than about 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., for a 7:00 p.m. bedtime. (Location 2189)
 
When you first establish a nap schedule, your baby may, at times, be awake for longer than her optimal awake time until she grows accustomed to the schedule. For example, if you put your 6-to-7- month-old down at 8:00 a.m. and she only sleeps for 30 minutes, she may have to stay awake for 3 hours to make it to her next scheduled nap. That’s okay—your baby’s internal clock will adjust and she will most likely start sleeping longer if you keep her naptimes consistent. It’s also okay to flex the times a bit during this adjustment period. One nap may always be shorter than the other (for example, for a 9-month-old, a 2-hour morning nap followed by a 45-minute afternoon nap). As your baby reaches 7 to 9 months, she will likely need to have her last nap end no later than 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. for a 7:00 p.m. bedtime. (Location 2195)
 
Nap Schedule Examples (Location 2206)
 
0 TO 5–6 MONTHS OLD (USE SPAN OF AWAKE TIME) 6 TO 9 MONTHS OLD (THREE NAPS) EXAMPLE 1 EXAMPLE 2 Bedtime 7:00 p.m. 7:30 p.m. Wake time 6:00 a.m. 6:30 a.m. First Nap 7:30 a.m. 8:30 a.m. Second Nap 12:00 p.m. 12:30 p.m. Third Nap 3:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m. (Location 2207)
 
How to know when your baby is ready to go from three to two naps: Baby is about 9 months old. Naps have gotten “chunkier,” at least an hour or more. Baby is no longer falling asleep for the third nap for one to two weeks straight. The third nap of the day begins to interfere with bedtime. The first nap of the day begins to drift later. Note: When they switch to two naps, most babies sleep at roughly 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (Location 2251)
 
The consistency we stress in the Sleep Wave is for establishing a new pattern. As a general rule, if your child has been sleeping well through the night and all of a sudden wakes up at an unusual time, listen first. Determine whether she’s simply whining and trying to get comfortable again, or if it seems she’s truly calling for you and sounds upset. If it’s the latter, go to her. (Location 2301)
 
We recommend that you respond this way when a night waking is out of the ordinary—it’s not a pattern—because we don’t want you to feel rigid or nervous about your baby waking up. (Location 2305)
 
Remember, after about 5 months, most babies can get all of their nutritional needs met during the day. It’s natural to think the wakings are hunger related, but they are much more likely to be due to developmental surges, which excite and activate a baby. (Location 2342)
 
If your baby is sitting, crawling, or standing, gently guide her back down into her favorite sleep position during each of your 5-minute checks. The idea is to guide or “mold” her body to show your baby how to eventually do it herself. Even if she immediately pops back up to a sit or stand, only “mold” once per visit. If she is sitting or in a crawling position, you can swiftly and smoothly guide her into her favorite lying-down position, usually on her side or tummy. (Location 2355)
 
Creating Your Child’s Sleep Schedule (Location 3989)

From there, it was time to Organize, the second step of CODE. 

Since all the content I was interested in was contained within this single note, organizing was as simple as making a copy of it (to preserve the original) and moving the new copy to an area notebook called “Caio,” where I keep all my notes related to him. This meant I was free to edit and annotate the new version according to what I needed at the moment, leaving the full notes untouched for future reference.

Next was the third step of CODE, Distill. 

Amazingly, just my highlights from the book amounted to 11,241 words, practically a book unto itself. This volume isn’t atypical, and illustrates why distilling is so important: if it’s impossible to find a piece of information when you need it, you might as well not have it at all.

In the span of about 3 hours spread over 2 days, I reviewed my highlights (on the Evernote iPad app using the Apple Pencil) and bolded the parts that were not only interesting, but directly actionable and useful. The very best of the best points received an additional highlight. This much stricter filter really helped me keep the momentum going and skip large sections altogether, for example, sections that didn’t apply to Caio’s current age.

The end result is a much more condensed version that can easily be scanned in a matter of minutes. I estimate only about 30% of the total text is bolded, meaning I can jump from one section to another instead of rereading the full highlights in their entirety.

You can access my distilled highlights in Evernote format here, or copy and paste the text beneath the toggle below into your notes app of choice.

By 5 or 6 months of age, almost all babies are capable of sleeping well without much assistance from Mom or Dad. So why do so many families struggle at night? The answer is that most parents do what works today, don’t notice when it’s no longer needed tomorrow, and then keep pushing even harder when it’s become a hindrance the day after that. (Location 79)
 
Over time, parents’ “helping ways” overshadow their baby’s natural sleep abilities. Children get confused as to whether they or their parents are doing the soothing, and parents aren’t sure when and how much to back off so their little ones can take over the job. (Location 84)
 
As parents get stuck in a habit of soothing their little one to sleep, it masks the child’s natural abilities and makes it look as if she can’t sleep on her own. (Location 103)
 
Imagine your child was capable of walking, but you still carried her everywhere instead of letting her practice this new skill! This overhelping is the crux of family sleep problems. (Location 105)
 
Our methods are based on two logical, research-based ideas. One: babies and little kids need warmth, sensitivity, and a sense that the world is a safe place. Two: they thrive best (and sleep best) when they have structure, routine, and clear expectations. (Location 119)
 
It’s estimated that babies and young children get an average of 9½ hours of sleep per night, although experts agree that they need 11 to 12, and roughly one-third of kids have clinical sleep problems. (Location 191)
 
Seventy-five percent of parents with infants and 82 percent of parents with preschoolers say they would change something about their child’s sleep. (Location 193)
 
Infants (3–11 months) 14 to 15 hours (Location 214)
 
SIGNS OF A SLEEP-DEPRIVED CHILD
  • Needs to be woken up in the morning
  • Hyperactive, inattentive, moody, impulsive, or aggressive
  • Falls asleep before scheduled naps if taken on a walk or car ride
  • Sleeps in on the weekends
  • Falls asleep in school
  • Becomes clumsy, irritable, easily frustrated (Location 241)
 
SIGNS OF A WELL-RESTED CHILD
  • Wakes up naturally
  • Alert most of the day or until naptime
  • Doesn’t fall asleep in the stroller or car during the day (in between naptimes)
  • Has more or less the same sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends
  • Has the same nap habits at home and day care or preschool (Location 247)
 
Parents lose about 350 hours of nighttime sleep in the first year of their baby’s life. (Location 297)
 
HERE’S WHAT MAKES A GOOD SLEEPER
  • A warm, attuned parent
  • A pattern of self-soothing
  • Clear family sleep habits
  • A regular schedule that supports natural, biological sleep mechanisms (Location 328)
 
polarized into methods of “crying it out” and “attachment parenting.” The first emphasizes structure and independent sleep; the second tells you to be flexible and responsive to your baby’s needs. These approaches seem to contradict each other. (Location 341)
 
independent sleep and a loving, secure attachment are pitted against each other—as if they are at odds. (Location 344)
 
For the best sleep, you need both the consistency of structured sleep training programs and the responsiveness (or as we will call it here, the “attunement”) of attachment-friendly ideas. (Location 350)
 
two important aspects of healthy sleep—consistency and attunement—and (Location 354)
 
The key is to use your child’s natural tendency to detect patterns and form habits, rather than being hampered by it. Babies and children are pattern-seekers, but they also forget old patterns more quickly than adults—making space in their inner laboratories for new behaviors. (Location 368)
 
Not only do babies and kids look for patterns, they relax when they find them (and we don’t need to tell you how important relaxing is to sleep). (Location 372)
 
Every technique we will teach you (especially for children over 5 months) requires the core element of consistency. (Location 381)
 
As your baby nears 4 months, she becomes very aware and surprisingly sensitive to a predictable and regular routine. By 5 to 6 months, most babies are capable of sleeping through the night and beginning to develop a regular nap schedule. (Location 393)
 
EXERCISE: WAIT, WATCH, AND WONDER (ALSO KNOWN AS LET HIM BE!) This exercise is a great way to watch your baby’s process of internal attunement. See your baby staring at his hands, at the tree branches swaying outside the window, or the light dancing across the ceiling? Wait, don’t do anything. Watch, notice everything you can about what your baby is up to. Wonder, how long will he continue and what will he do next? If your baby is happy and/or focused in his own little world, let him be! Don’t feel as though he needs your constant stimulation and input. How about times when your baby is struggling, persisting, maybe even getting a little frustrated? Maybe he’s reaching for a toy or trying to roll or crawl. Again, despite our impulse to help and rescue, the attuned response is to wait, watch, and wonder. When babies gain this confidence during the day, it strengthens their ability to access it at night. (Location 457)
 
The problem is that when a parent gets in the habit of automatically repeating soothing actions over and over (like bouncing and rocking to sleep), as time goes on, it begins to mask the baby’s budding abilities. On the other hand, a curious parent watches closely and notices moments when the baby is okay on her own and doesn’t need help. The curious stance is the path to knowing when to soothe your baby, while gradually, over time, stepping back to give her space so she can show you what she’s capable of. (Location 519)
 
You can encourage your baby’s grasp of day and night by:
  • Exposing your baby to indirect sunlight during the day. To best signal his internal clock, venture out early in the day. Try for a 10:00 a.m. walk, or sit on the porch at this time. Just remember not to keep your newborn in direct sunlight. (Location 543)
 
Letting him know it’s morning. When your baby wakes up for the day, sing him a song and open the shades to let in sunlight. Gently waking your baby during the day to feed at least every 3 hours. Keeping him in the living areas and activity during the day, and in a dark, quiet room at night. Lowering the lights in the house at night (even if your baby is awake). (Location 546)
 
Given this natural tendency for early rising, putting her down at 7:00 p.m. gives her the best chance of getting the 11 to 12 hours of sleep she needs. Your baby may not seem tired, but that’s okay. The optimal time to put your baby down is not when she’s yawning and fussing, but before this, when she’s quietly cooing or playing. (Location 575)
 
While you’re thinking about bedtime schedules, keep in mind that after the first 8 weeks or so your baby will be ready to sleep approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours after waking up from her last nap, so take her final naptime into consideration. You can gently wake your baby in anticipation of her needing a 90-minute awake period before bedtime. Up to about 3 months or so, many babies can occasionally nap until 6:00 p.m., be gently roused for their bedtime routine, and go right back down at 7:00 p.m. (Location 586)
 
By 4 months, she’ll probably do best with her own sleeping place at home for a consistent bedtime. (Location 592)
 
Bedtime is an aspect of sleep with which we urge you to be very consistent. It might feel like a mechanical adherence to the clock, but remember that your baby has an internal clock that wants things to come at predictable times. (Location 601)
 
Put your bedtime routine in place before you think your baby needs it (6 to 8 weeks is a good time to start) because the predictability helps set the stage for her growing ability to self-soothe. (Location 607)
 
Bedtime rituals

 
0 TO 2 MONTHS
  • Bath
  • Massage
  • Pjs
  • Feed
  • Songs while you sway
  • Bed
 
3 TO 5 MONTHS
  • Bath
  • Pjs
  • Feed
  • Baby-led play
  • Book(s)
  • Songs while you sway
  • Bed
 
5 TO 7 MONTHS
  • Bath
  • Massage
  • PJs
  • Feed
  • Book(s)
  • Say good night to objects in the room
  • Song while you sway
  • Bed
 
The Soothing, Repetitive Routine
 
Your bedtime routine should be 30 to 45 minutes long at this age and consist of things like a bath, infant massage (see “Baby Massage Basics”), pajamas, books, feeding, songs, and bed. If your tone is warm and calm, the steps of the routine are predictable, and the end of the routine is clear, your baby will learn this and her body will expect the transition to sleep. We like to say that you can stand on your head as the last step of your bedtime routine—it really doesn’t matter, as long as you do it the same way every night! Always end with the same song and keep your last words to your baby, like “Night, night, I love you,” consistent as well. (Location 625)
 
Separate Feeding from Sleep
 
Try not to feed your baby as the very last part of your routine, because it can quickly create a strong association between drinking milk and falling asleep. This sleep association is one of the most likely to interrupt the process of your baby turning inward to soothe herself to sleep. If you look for opportunities to loosen this association now, it will create more space for your baby’s growing ability to self-soothe down the road. Singing a song (the same one every night) between feeding and putting your baby in bed is a great way to end the routine instead. (Location 631)
 
Try putting your baby down and then shushing and patting her a little as she falls asleep instead of lowering her into her sleeping place already asleep. This way, when she wakes during the night, she won’t be surprised to find herself in bed. As you know, all babies are different; at this age, some will still need to be fed to sleep. Just remember to stay curious and be willing to try putting your baby down a little awake. You can read more about putting your baby down awake here. If your little one still relies on being fed to sleep when she’s 5 months old, we’ll show you how to change this pattern in Chapter 4. (Location 635)
 
Baby-Led Play
 
By 3 months of age, babies really like 10 to 15 minutes of quiet, baby-led play as part of their routine. During this time, get down on the floor with your baby and just watch and follow her play. It’s a chance to shift from you doing things to your baby (the way the daytime often goes while you’re feeding, bathing, carrying her, and so forth), to your baby being in charge and showing you what she is interested in. As your baby feels your attention, her brain becomes primed for self-regulation, which will help her sleep. In the first 4 months, baby-led play is very simple; it might just mean mirroring her expressions and following her gaze. (Location 651)
 
Do the Last Steps in the Room Where Your Baby Sleeps
 
Move into the room where your baby is sleeping for the last steps of the routine, dim the lights, slow down your voice and movements, and keep things quiet. Light—both natural and artificial—affects sleep for people of all ages (see here), so dimming lights for an hour before bed (including avoiding TV, computers, and all screens) is helpful to all of us. (Location 657)
 
Your Individual Baby
 
The ingredients of your bedtime routine will depend on your baby. Some babies will clearly indicate at a certain point that they no longer want to lie still for massage or want to get into their bed sooner and get comfortable while you sing the last song or say good night. Some parents sing the last verse as they’re walking out of the room. (Location 660)
 
“Night night, sleep tight, see you in the morning light,” (Location 666)
 
Lay your baby down on a warm, flat, safe surface where you are also comfortable. Put a little pure vegetable oil, such as sweet almond oil, into your palms and rub your hands together to warm the oil. Make eye contact with your baby and let him know you are starting the massage. Wrap your hands around one of his thighs and pull down, one hand following the other. Use a gentle “milking” motion to massage down the length of both legs. When you get to the little feet, use your thumbs and trace circles all over the soles and then gently pull on each toe as you slide your fingers off the end. (Location 670)
 
Place your hands flat over baby’s chest and stroke outward in big, slow circles. With one hand flat across baby’s chest, stroke downward to his thighs on both sides. Take up each little arm and repeat the milking motion from shoulder to hand, rotating the wrists a few times in each direction. Trace circles on baby’s palm with your thumbs and gently pull on each finger, sliding off the end. Gently roll baby to tummy and trace circles on either side of his spine, moving up and down from neck to waist. (Location 676)
 
Finish with long, firm strokes all the way from shoulders to feet. Babies generally like a gentle but firm touch, rather than a super-light, ticklish touch. (Location 682)
 
Follow your baby’s cues and stop if he’s had enough. It’s normal for babies to begin to resist massage as they become more mobile and active; you can build it into another part of your day if and when it no longer helps him wind down at bedtime. (Location 684)
 
QUICK LIST: ENVIRONMENT AND SOOTHING
  • White noise
  • Light
  • Walking, rocking, carrying
  • Swaddling
  • The need for sucking
  • Your nighttime station (Location 691)
 
Instead of using constant, loud, and monotone static white noise, use nature sounds like waves or rain, which have slight variations. (Location 698)
 
Once your baby is about 4 months old, white noise is no longer needed for soothing, but you can certainly keep it as a way to mask noises from inside and outside the house. (Location 700)
 
Even the first hints of sunrise can send alerting signals to your baby, so a very dark room gives him the best chance of sleeping longer. You can achieve this by installing blackout shades, putting up temporary darkening shades, using blackout fabric, or even just taping dark garbage bags over the windows. (Location 703)
 
When your baby wakes up for the day, make sure that his brain and body know it’s daytime. Gently pull back the shades, sit on the porch in indirect sunlight, or go for a walk in the morning to help his developing internal clock. Talk to him and sing a good morning song! (Location 706)
 
Your baby feels soothed by your warmth, the feel of your skin, and the motion as you carry him. (Location 708)
 
Swaddling Newborns have a startle reflex that regularly sends their legs and arms flying. For safety reasons, we put our little ones on their backs for naps and bedtime, but this means that the jerking motion can really disrupt their sleep. Snug swaddles keep limbs hugged toward the body and many babies sleep better this way. Most babies do well being swaddled until they are 2 to 4 months old. (Location 711)
 
Stop swaddling when your baby can roll over at all, in either direction, since it can pose a suffocation risk. (Location 719)
 
Everything you can do to encourage movement and agility will have a positive effect on sleep, because when your baby chooses his own body positions, he’ll sleep better. It may be on his tummy, with an arm outstretched, knees tucked under, bum up in the air . . . you won’t know until he has the chance to practice. (Location 733)
 
This is why we like to see babies graduate into long-sleeved, long-legged cotton onesies with feet (with a similar “blanket sleeper” as a second layer during cold seasons) instead of sleep sacks, which can get twisted or hamper movement. Do everything you can to ensure that, once your baby can roll, he’s free and can move at will around the crib. Now he can shift around and resettle during the night, just like the rest of us. (Location 735)
 
Many babies have a strong need for sucking (which is separate from their need for nourishment), so you can encourage either thumb or pacifier use to satisfy this need and improve the capacity to self-soothe. The current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is to use a pacifier for bedtime and naps, but you don’t need to reinsert it if it falls out during the night (Location 746)
 
Pacifiers Pacifiers take a lot longer for your baby to be able to insert solo, but they are much easier to take away when the time is right. (Location 750)
 
Thumbs Thumbs are readily available, easier to insert (once they learn how), and don’t get lost in the crib. The downside can be that it’s trickier to stop thumb sucking down the road (although most children will naturally stop thumb sucking if it isn’t given any attention or judgment). (Location 752)
 
Your Nighttime Station
 
It will help both you and your baby if you can prepare the items you’ll need overnight and put them in a convenient place before bed so you don’t need to do any extra work when your baby wakes up. Put diapers, wipes, an extra set of pajamas, a glass of water, your feeding pillow, and anything else you might need for nighttime awakenings right next to your bed. Have a dim nightlight next to you and keep your feedings as unstimulating as possible (try to resist chatting with your adorable bundle at this hour of the night). If your baby is within arm’s reach, you may not even have to get out of bed to take care of him and put him back down again. (Location 755)
 
Offer a pacifier at naptime and bedtime. Having a pacifier while falling asleep has been shown to reduce SIDS risk. (Location 774)

Updated: Mar 21, 2021
 
QUICK LIST: ENCOURAGE SELF-SOOTHING
 
1. Put your baby down awake. Look for opportunities to put your baby down awake at least once a day. A major reason babies wake up and cry is because they find themselves in a sleeping place they didn’t go into knowingly.
 
2. Loosen the feeding-sleep association. Gently remove breast or bottle at the end of a feeding before baby falls asleep. (Location 803)
 
3. Discern your baby’s sounds. If baby is fussing, whining, grunting, squawking, babbling, or making any other such noise, resist the urge to swoop in! Babies can be very noisy on their way to self-soothing. (Location 807)
 
4. Use the Soothing Ladder to avoid overhelping. If your baby wakes up at night and cries for about a minute, be curious about the least intrusive thing you can do to settle her. (Location 810)
 
5. Don’t let your baby cry for more than a minute. As you’re encouraging self-soothing, don’t let your baby cry for more than a minute during the first 4 months. (Location 812)
 
6. Daytime independence. Look for moments during the day when your baby is happy to hang out solo. What better way to nurture confidence and self-regulation. (Location 814)
 
7. Transitional object. Also known as a lovey or blankie, this is a soft, special object your baby can use to help her self-soothe. (Location 815)
 
8. Tummy time. Tummy time is important for your baby’s sleep. Once she can roll and move (usually around 4 months), your baby has skills for getting comfy and sleeping well. (Location 817)
 
Imagine you, the parent, are the scaffolding and your child is the building. You know that scaffolding around a growing building gives just enough support to allow the building to grow, and is gradually taken down as the building gets stronger. In the same way, you are ready to give your baby just enough support to grow and progress, while allowing her to struggle a little as she gets stronger and shows her new, budding skills. (Location 828)
 
Gradually fading these sleep associations in the early months, when a baby’s awareness is lower, can be very effective and easier than doing it later. (Location 837)
 
If your baby cries for more than about 1 minute, you can use the Soothing Ladder to calm him and then try to put him down drowsy again. You can do this over and over until he falls asleep. (Location 850)
 
If you pay attention to when swallowing (slower, steady, with clear swallows) turns to pacifying (faster, more fluttery, little or no swallowing), you can gently take her off the nipple, lay her in her bed, and either allow her to fall asleep without sucking, or help her suck on thumb or pacifier if she prefers that. (Location 864)
 
The Soothing Ladder Method
 
This method works for the first 4 to 5 months; the earlier you start, the better. (Location 893)
 
You start at the bottom of the ladder and spend roughly 30 seconds trying to soothe her, moving up a step if it doesn’t work. Maybe one night your baby is calmed by you patting and rubbing her back, but another night all she needs is a soft song or shushing. You won’t know unless you start from the bottom and take small steps up. Don’t swoop in with the “big guns” (usually a feeding) right away. (Location 896)
 
A typical sleep ladder for a young baby is:
  • 1. Your presence in the room
  • 2. The sound of your voice, talking, singing, shushing
  • 3. Replacing the pacifier and/or lovey
  • 4. Your touch, patting on the back, rubbing head or tummy, hand over top of the head, and so forth
  • 5. Jiggling baby in the bed
  • 6. Picking her up to gently rock until soothed but still awake
  • 7. Feeding her
 
 
Start with number 1 on your list and spend around 15 to 30 seconds on each rung of the ladder until you get to the one that works. Do not feel compelled to go all the way up the ladder each time. You can stop when you notice your baby settling. (Location 914)
 
For example: You hear your baby cry out and you determine that this is a “come here!” cry. You go in and shush her, but she keeps crying, so you find her lovey and pat her on the back. If she starts to calm down, keep patting and shushing rather than picking her up. (Location 916)
 
when they create and use the Soothing Ladder, they’re amazed to see that a step farther down actually works. Each time this happens, it creates a new learning opportunity for the baby. New pathways in her brain are formed, practiced, and strengthened every time she has these experiences. (Location 920)
 
For these babies, crying is a form of stress release. (Location 938)
 
Loveys
 
Stage 1 Keep it with you and your baby as much as possible, especially when you’re cuddling and feeding, so it has your scent and is associated with comfort (you could even sleep with the lovey for a few nights so it smells like Mom or Dad). (Location 948)
 
Stage 2 Once your baby shows signs of being attached to the lovey (rubbing it on his face, feeling it with her fingers, or grasping it), typically between 5 and 12 months of age, keep it in the crib for sleeping only, so she has a special way to soothe herself that evokes sleepy feelings. Keeping the lovey in the crib and using it only for sleep protects its “potency.” Babies are often very happy to get into bed and see their treasured lovey waiting for them. (Location 950)
 
A lovey is typically a small (size of a cloth diaper) blanket, cloth, or unstuffed animal. You can introduce the lovey any time you want (see “Safe Sleeping Practices” for more on safe loveys in the first 4 months), but generally, the sooner the better. For those babies who do attach to their lovey, the benefit to sleep is significant, and it can continue to help with sleep for years to come, both at home and when you travel. It’s a good idea to have multiples on hand. (Location 954)
 
Regular tummy time will give your baby the strength and coordination she needs to roll, rotate, tuck her legs under her, or anything else she needs to do to get into a comfortable sleep position. When this happens, it’s a whole new world for your baby because she gets to choose her favorite body position instead of being stuck in the one you put her in. (Location 959)
 
TIPS FOR TUMMY TIME Aim for 10 minutes per waking hour. If your baby can only last for 30 seconds in the beginning, just put her down frequently for those short bursts. (Location 981)
 
If her arm gets stuck underneath her, lift the hip on the same side of her body to allow her to pull her arm out. The idea is for your baby to participate in moving to her tummy instead of feeling like she’s been stuck there. (Location 985)
 
If your newborn is hopelessly face planting, use a small, rolled-up receiving blanket under her chest at armpit level, with her arms reaching forward. Feeding pillows are not a good idea as they give too much support and keep baby from the workout she needs. (Location 987)
 
Your baby’s favorite thing to look at is your face, so what better way to entertain her and “grow” tummy time than to get right down at eye level with her. Sing, make funny faces, and let her know that you know it’s hard. (Location 990)
 
You can help your baby learn to turn her head to one side and the other; this will help her sleep easily on her tummy once she learns to roll. (Location 997)
 
Your young baby does not need (nor is her body ready for) a nap schedule until she is roughly 5 to 7 months old. (Location 1028)
 
after about the age of 2 months, she will start to feel drowsy around 90 minutes after waking up (before this age, she’ll flicker in and out of sleep much more quickly). There is a magical little window here when falling asleep is easy. When you’ve missed the window and she’s overtired, she may yawn, pull her ears, rub her eyes, cry, or appear a little wired. At this point, falling asleep becomes more difficult because her nervous system is overwhelmed and dysregulated. This 90-minute rule of thumb applies to the start of your baby’s day, and also to each window of time she’s awake after a nap, throughout the day. (Location 1033)
 
THE 90-MINUTE STEPS Roughly 75 minutes after your baby wakes up (for the day or from her last nap) or whenever you see the subtle cues listed below, start a simple, soothing, 15-minute naptime routine. (Location 1042)
 
At the 90-minute mark, put your baby down. Parents are continually shocked and thrilled by how much this helps. (Location 1045)
 
Even if your baby only naps for 15 minutes, the 90-minute rule usually still applies from the time she blinks awake. Remember this if you’re on a stroller walk or in the car and your baby catnaps. (Location 1046)
 
staring off into space, dazed look in eyes reduced activity less interest in surroundings (Location 1053)
 
Often the first nap of the day can come very easily after only 60 minutes of awake time. (Remember that the first nap is also often the easiest one to practice putting baby down a little awake). If you see that your 0- to 4-month-old baby seems tired, even though 90 minutes have not passed, it’s best to follow these cues and put her down to sleep. (Location 1056)
 
For the first 3 to 5 months, the 90-minute rule will be very helpful. If you feel your baby is growing out of the 90-minute rule, see Chapter 4 for older baby nap routines and schedules. (Location 1059)
 
Around 2 to 4 months, your baby will be awake for longer stretches. At this point, it’s typical for babies to catnap—sleeping for 20 to 30 minutes (Location 1067)
 
Soon your baby will be rolling and moving on his own to the most comfy sleep position. Once that happens, the length of his naps will grow to a span of 1 to 3 hours. If you’d like to see where your baby’s daytime sleep will be later on, you can look at Chapter 4, here, for older baby nap schedule examples. (Location 1072)
 
Remember that even a catnap counts when it comes to the 90-minute awake span. Short naps may still relieve your baby’s drowsiness (and release the built-up pressure of his sleep drive, described in Chapter 8) enough so that he won’t go back to sleep again—it’s like a power nap. (Location 1075)
 
Allow your baby to sleep where you feel it works best, just keep in mind that it’s really helpful to have him practice napping in his regular sleeping place, too (his bassinet, co-sleeper, or crib); aim to put your baby down for a nap in his regular sleeping place at least once a day. Often the first nap of the day is the easiest one to practice this. (Location 1080)
 
QUICK LIST: NAP TIPS 1. The 90-minute rule. Your baby will be ready for sleep after roughly 90 minutes of awake time in the morning and after each nap. Watch the clock and start your 15-minute naptime routine 75 minutes after her last awakening so that you can put her down at the 90-minute mark. (Location 1089)
 
2. Naptime routine. This will be similar to the bedtime routine (but shorter) and consistent each day. Don’t skip the routine. Be sure to put it into place before your baby seems to need it. The nap routine becomes more important as your baby nears 3 months. (Location 1094)
 
5. Room environment. Make the room where baby sleeps dark and quiet for naps. Use blackout shades. White noise, like nature sounds or a low fan, is very calming, especially during the first 3 to 4 months. (Location 1101)
 
also, a short nap should be perceived as a successful one. (Location 1107)
 
for babies roughly 2 months and older, the 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. hour is when they’re actually ready for bed. (Location 1112)
 
Put your baby down after every 90-minute span of awake time throughout the day. If your baby is 6 weeks or older and seems to be drowsy and has a longer stretch of sleep in the early evening, consider an early bedtime, around 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. (Location 1114)
 
Reduce stimulation like bright overhead lighting as the evening progresses. (Location 1125)
 
Colic is often defined by the “rule of three”: crying at least 3 hours per day, more than three days per week, for three weeks’ duration or more (Location 1131)
 
If it is colic, the good news is that it does get better—in fact, it almost always seems to disappear magically (and thankfully) by 4 months of age. (Location 1137)
 
Around 3 to 4 months in particular, many babies hit a rough patch with sleep; even those who are champion sleepers as newborns sometimes start to wake up more frequently at this age. It can be frustrating and confusing for parents, who keep hearing that things get easier at 3 months, only to find their infant wide-eyed at 2:00 a.m. You can’t imagine how many times we’ve heard moms and dads exclaim about their 4-month-old, “He thinks he’s a newborn again!” (Location 1160)
 
Look for early cues that your baby is ready to feed, such as increased alertness, physical activity, mouthing, or rooting, rather than waiting for crying, which can be a late sign of hunger. (Location 1202)
 
6 Weeks to 4 Months (Location 1210)
 
By 4 months, one to two middle-of-the-night feedings are enough for most babies. (Location 1215)
 
At this age, if you have fed your baby within the last 1 to 3 hours and he wakes at night, this is a good opportunity to broaden his repertoire of soothing by trying other ways to help him get back to sleep. (Location 1216)
 
Around 3 to 5 months, it is common for babies to temporarily wake up more frequently—ready to play and excited at the novelty of their new awareness. It’s natural to mistake this as a growth spurt and add in night feedings. As you know, babies rarely turn down an offer of milk during the night, so his eagerness to feed is not an accurate indicator of hunger. Review “Sleep Regression.” (Location 1218)
 
Hold your baby in an almost upright position while holding the bottle almost horizontal, tipped just enough to fill the nipple with milk. Keep gravity from speeding the flow of milk, again mimicking the pacing of the breast as much as possible. (Location 1237)
 
Depending on how much milk your breasts are able to store, you may eventually go for 7 to 8 hours without feeding or pumping. Many moms will pump right before they go to sleep and then either feed or pump again 7 to 8 hours later. (Location 1264)
 
Since babies’ highest risk for SIDS is before 3 to 4 months, a good time to move your baby to her own room is around 4 to 6 months. It’s a personal decision that can be influenced by your baby’s growing awareness of and activation by your presence in the room, as well as your desire to have your personal space back. (Location 1317)
 
Remember that if your baby can roll to his tummy, for safety reasons, it’s time to get rid of the swaddle. (Location 1333)
 
the majority of babies sprout their first tooth between 4 and 7 months. What typically precedes the appearance of a tooth is a prolonged period of drooling, chewing on everything, and a range of very low to mild discomfort and fussiness. (Location 1340)
 
If you’re noticing extra fussiness during the day and decreased interest in feeding, and you can see little clear or whitish bumps (the bottom middle and top middle teeth, in that order, are typically the first to come in), there’s a pretty good chance that your baby is about to cut a tooth. (Location 1342)
 
If your baby is actively cutting a tooth (meaning it’s currently coming through the gums), and sleep has clearly been derailed, consider addressing the pain so that he can get good sleep during the two to three days it usually takes. Talk to your pediatrician about giving a pain medication thirty minutes before bedtime, and make sure you use the correct dose. You can also use homeopathic remedies or whatever you have found to be helpful—just be sure to clear this with your doctor. By addressing the pain during the two to three nights of active cutting, you are helping your baby to get the sleep he needs so that he can better tolerate the pain during the day, without adding sleep deprivation to his plate. (Location 1346)
 
Acute teething pain usually lasts no more than two to three days, so try to be aware of not assuming that your baby needs more help at night for weeks because of teething. (Location 1352)
 
TEETHING TIP Give your baby a cold, wet washcloth or gel-filled teether to chew on before daytime feedings. The coolness (avoid the freezer as it can be too cold) can help to numb her gums a bit and up the chances that she’ll have a full feeding. (Location 1355)
 
This early need for movement is finite—it won’t last. As their brains quickly mature, babies are ready for the next step and will sleep better without the movement, just like we do. (Location 1366)
 
If your baby is still reliant on movement to fall asleep when she reaches 5 months, we will help you change this pattern in the next chapter. (Location 1369)
 
More babies than not will move to these alarmingly short catnaps of about 30 minutes, anytime between about 2 and 6 months of age. Once your baby’s brain and body mature even more and she can roll to her favorite sleep position, her naps will lengthen again. The tips most likely to support your baby’s progress toward longer naps are: Put your baby down awake. Discern your baby’s sounds (at the end of a short nap, don’t rush in!). Give your baby plenty of tummy time between naps. (Location 1381)
 
Some parents have success using the Soothing Ladder at the end of a very short nap to get baby back to sleep quickly to “finish” their nap. This is always a good thing to try from time to time, as the day will come when your baby is ready to stretch out that nap. In the meantime, during the catnap phase, don’t worry, and know that it’s perfectly normal. (Location 1386)
 
The world is just too exciting now and she needs her familiar cues and nonstimulating environment to fall asleep, just like you probably do. (Location 1395)
 
4. Baby + Toddler (5 Months to 2 Years) (Location 1412)
 
You’ll establish an early and consistent bedtime, a regular nap schedule, and a pattern of self-soothing that helps your baby fall asleep independently and sleep through the night. In this chapter, we’ll teach you the Sleep Wave, a technique for falling asleep independently that you can use with babies 5 months and older, as well as toddlers and even preschoolers. We’ll also walk you through how to approach feeding and weaning at night, (Location 1454)
 
What looks to parents like their child’s sleep problem is often just the result of unhelpful sleep associations. Sleep associations are the conditions under which your child falls asleep that, over time, she links to the act of soothing and sleeping. (Location 1479)
 
The goal is to put your baby to bed with her as a conscious, knowing participant—without any sneaking out or surprises. (Location 1484)
 
You will always help your child with comforting routines, stories, songs, cuddles, and so forth, but once she’s in her crib or bed, if there is anything you do that she can’t do herself later, you will want to replace this with a soothing method she can be in charge of all night long. (Location 1492)
 
Multiple research studies have found that babies and toddlers who are put into bed already asleep are more likely to wake up during the night and less likely to be self-soothers. (Location 1518)
 
Light Your child is exquisitely attuned to light, which is the primary signal to her internal clock (see Chapter 8). Install blinds or hang curtains that block early morning rays and make the room very dark for naptime (we often ask parents if their baby’s room is dark and they say it definitely is; when we look for ourselves, we see that it’s not even close to being dark enough). Bright home lights can suppress the release of melatonin (which naturally rises as we near bedtime) and interfere with your child’s ability to fall asleep. In the evening, lower the lights in the house an hour before bedtime and use a dim lamp during bedtime routine to help your child’s body wind down. (Location 1525)
 
In the morning, pull back the shades—this is like pressing “start” on your child’s internal clock. (Location 1531)
 
Sound Use a low fan or nature sounds to block ambient noise, from siblings, barking dogs, and so forth. (Location 1533)
 
Smell Keep the air fresh in your child’s room, so that the smell and air quality are pleasant. Open the windows during the day to let air circulate. Use a low fan or air purifier to keep a gentle flow of moving air. (Location 1534)
 
Feel Give your child a comfortable, firm sleep surface and soft sheets (make sure to follow safe sleeping guidelines). (Location 1536)
 
Temperature Keep the room cool, around 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. It may sound chilly, but cooler temperatures are generally better for sleep. (Location 1539)
 
One of the best ways to help your baby sleep is to set an early and consistent bedtime—between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. works well for most. (Location 1545)
 
Try not to wait until she shows classically “tired” signs like yawning and rubbing her eyes—the optimal bedtime is when your baby is quietly talking, playing, and in a good mood. (Location 1548)
 
For parents who work late and aren’t able to get baby down at 7:00 p.m., 7:30 or even 8:00 p.m. is okay, as long as baby still gets at least 11 hours of sleep. Some babies adjust better to a later bedtime than others. (Location 1562)
 
The “what” of the routine doesn’t matter as much as the “how.” Even turning on a certain type of music, lowering the lights in the house, and doing very small behaviors such as drawing the curtains, turning on the fan, saying good night to objects in the room with a quiet voice, or arranging blankets just so become a cue for sleep if you repeat these steps every night. Drowsiness develops into a Pavlovian-like response for your baby if your actions are calm and consistent. Watch the way your simple behaviors, if they’re slow, almost methodical and consistent, can trigger a calming reflex in your baby. (Location 1603)
 
It’s best to do the last steps of your routine in your baby’s bedroom, and the very last step (for example, singing a song) with the lights out, so that your baby has a moment with you in the dark before you leave the room. (Location 1608)
 
Dim Lights and Disconnect Dim the lights in your home an hour before bedtime to help your child’s brain and body wind down. Avoid having your baby watch TV before bed, as this can delay her ability to fall asleep. It’s also better not to make TV a strong sleep association that your baby, and eventually your child, grows into needing. (Location 1609)
 
Use dim lights for nightlights (red light has the least powerful effect on melatonin secretion, so you could replace your baby’s nightlight with a red bulb, which will be the least alerting light source). (Location 1616)
 
Baby-Led Play Baby-led play warms up your child’s self-soothing skills before bedtime. To do this, you simply get down on the ground and follow your baby’s interests and play behaviors for 10 to 20 minutes. This is an option—try it out and see if it helps you and your baby shift modes. If it fits in your bedtime routine (it’s often easier to accommodate if you have only one child), you can decide when in the routine it will come. (Location 1628)
 
At 5 to 6 months, baby-led play can be simply watching your baby practice rolling, picking up a similar toy, and occasionally narrating what she is doing or mirroring her movements and sounds. As her play grows more complex and creative, you may be called upon to join your child in imaginary play. The key is that it’s calm and that you follow rather than lead. (Location 1631)
 
If you put your baby to sleep at the beginning of the night using feeding, motion, or something similar, this is the place to start to improve her sleep. (Location 1639)
 
At this age and older, it’s difficult to change this pattern gradually (for example, by using the Soothing Ladder in Chapter 3). To transfer the role of soothing to your baby after 4 to 5 months of age, you’ll need a sleep approach that is very clear. (Location 1642)
 
We often find that the same feeding, swinging, or rocking that supports newborn sleep seems to hinder an older baby’s sleep. Over time, as parents continue to help their child, sleep plateaus or even regresses. These are some signs that your baby’s cognitive development is clicking along, her awareness is growing, and she is ready to shift to doing the soothing herself: Your “helping ways,” like feeding, rocking, or strolling, begin taking longer and longer to get your child to sleep. Your baby wakes more during the night, skips naps, or takes very short naps. Your baby wakes up the minute you lower her into the crib or very soon after. Your baby arches her back or struggles slightly as you hold and try to soothe her to sleep. Rather than becoming sleepier, your baby seems activated by your presence. (Location 1645)
 
These are signs that you, with the best of intentions, are actually getting in the way of your baby’s sleep. (Location 1653)
 
Read through this entire section before starting to use the Sleep Wave (you can use the Sleep Wave Planner in the Appendix). (Location 1665)
 
Before You Start the Sleep Wave
 
1. Review Healthy Sleep Habits. Make sure you have put the Healthy Sleep Habits, which are outlined earlier in this chapter, in place. Please read through this section before moving forward. (Location 1669)
 
2. Make Adjustments to the Room Environment. Make sure that you have the right bedroom elements (here) in place and that your child is comfortable and familiar with her room. If your baby is sleeping in your room, but your goal is for her to transition to her own room, this is a good time to do it. Allow her a little awake playtime to get comfortable in her room before starting your sleep plan. You can “dress” the crib in her new room for play, adding a bright sheet, toys, and maybe a mobile, during the day. Have her spend some playtime in there for a few days, both with you nearby and on her own. Redress the crib for sleep and practice putting her down there for naps or the first segment of nighttime sleep. Your child should be familiar with her sleeping place before starting the Sleep Wave.
 
3. When you start the Sleep Wave, you’ll be removing your “unhelpful” sleep associations while making sure all “helpful” ones are in place. For example, it’s a good idea to give your child a lovey if you haven’t already.
 
4. Set Your Baby’s Schedule. In the Healthy Sleep Habits section, we asked you to set an early bedtime. Now that you’re starting the Sleep Wave, you’ll also set your child’s wake-up time to be at least eleven hours after bedtime. So, for example, if bedtime is 7:00 p.m., then wake-up time will be no earlier than 6:00… (Location 1681)
 
5. Choose the Right Time Is your family ready for a structured sleep plan? Make sure: Your baby is at least 5 months old (if you’re considering the Sleep Wave with a younger baby, see here). There is no minimum weight requirement for using the Sleep Wave. However, if you are thinking about weaning from night feedings and you have any concerns about your baby’s weight gain, growth, or health in general, consult your doctor. You and your baby are healthy and have no vaccines scheduled in the next 2 weeks. The house is stable for the next two weeks, meaning that you will not travel, go back to work, or undergo any other major changes.
 
6. Parents Must Be on the Same Page. We can’t emphasize enough how important consistency is when you’re working on sleep, and one of the most common places for a break in consistency is between the behaviors of each parent. This happens for many reasons: one parent badly wants a change, while the other feels fine with the status quo; one parent feels uncomfortable with the plan; one parent is an expert on the plan but the other isn’t fully versed in the details; one parent adheres to the plan consistently, but then goes out of town . . . you see what we mean!
 
This is why we strongly recommend that, if there are two parents in the house, both of you read this chapter and then sit down together and write out the plan for yourselves (you can use the “Sleep Wave Planner” tool in the Appendix). Your baby will pick up on your calm consistency and feel secure when all parties are on the same page. This can make or break your success in changing a sleep pattern.
 
The Sleep Wave is the way to do both—respond and let your child know you’re close, while making it crystal clear to her that soothing to sleep is her job. Your goal here is to “pass the baton” of soothing to your child. (Location 1709)
 
You are like a wave as you respond to your baby. (Location 1716)
 
the Sleep “Wave” is that we want you, the parent, to imagine yourself as a wave in the ocean. Your repetitive, rhythmic visits, as you roll in and out, are a constant, predictable response for your child. You come and go in a reliable way, and this is key to a healthy attachment. Your baby—who is a natural little scientist, constantly looking for patterns—will learn how you move through this method, always responding to let her know you’re there, but not reverting to doing the soothing for her. Once she detects, tests, and finally trusts your wave pattern, she will relax, turn inward, and access her own self-soothing abilities. (Location 1718)
 
For the fastest learning, we recommend using the Sleep Wave starting at bedtime and continuing to use it in exactly the same way with any nighttime wakings, after any nighttime feedings, and with naps the next day—this gives your baby the most consistent pattern of your response.
 
The Exact Steps of the Sleep Wave
  1. Put your baby down awake.
    1. After bedtime routine, put your baby down drowsy but awake. Give her a pat and say a few words, like “It’s time for sleeping. Mommy’s right outside. I love you,” and leave the room. The statement you say before leaving the room is your “script,” which you will use during your visits if your child is crying. Create your own script and write it down so you and anyone else who puts your baby to sleep is saying and doing exactly the same thing. It’s crucial that it is repeated word for word and not changed or expanded.
      1. Good to know: Your baby’s brain has an abundance of “mirror neurons” that absorb emotions from people around her. Approach this process with confidence so that your baby feels good about sleep. Be positive and envision a good outcome—your baby is very sensitive to your physical and emotional state. Your tone should be calm and matter-of-fact. What you’re conveying to your baby is that you believe in her abilities and will respond reliably until she trusts the new pattern.
  2. The 5-minute check.
    1. If your baby starts to cry (really cry—not just fuss, squawk, or whine), wait for 5 minutes. Go into the room, stand either at the door or at the side of the crib (somewhere where your baby can see and hear you), and say your script in a matter-of-fact, confident tone. Your visit should only last as long as it takes to walk in, say your script, and walk out (about 7 to 10 seconds). The check is only to let baby know you’re there. The check is not at all meant to calm her down or help her fall asleep. Don’t soothe, touch, or pick your baby up. Let your baby sense that you give her credit for what you know she’s capable of, and you will continue to do your checks until she trusts the pattern and falls asleep. This is key. Initially, the parent who feels more confident is the best one to do the checks, but you can alternate parents, too. If one parent needs to step outside the house to regroup while the other one takes over and does the checks, that’s okay! It’s not uncommon for babies to protest and cry for 20 to 60 minutes at bedtime, and occasionally this period is longer on the second or third night.
      1. Good to know: When the Sleep Wave isn’t working as well as we expect, it’s often because the parent is staying in the room too long, trying to calm, soothe, and help. The paradox is that the well-meaning helping actually makes it much harder for the baby to turn inward. When you deviate from your plan and change your behavior even slightly (by rubbing her back when you go in for one of your checks, for example), your baby then has to spend energy guessing what you’re going to do next, or decoding your behavior and wondering if her protest has resulted in this help from you. (Location 1727)
  3. The Wave.
    1. If she’s still crying, wait another 5 minutes and repeat step 2 exactly. If the crying stops, reset the time to zero and go back in if cries start again and last for 5 minutes. Returning every 5 minutes, if she’s crying, helps your baby detect your pattern. Resist the urge to lengthen the time. Your baby needs your visits to be 100 percent predictable. If your baby is whining or crying intermittently, it can be hard to tell exactly when to go in. Use your best judgment and try to give your baby space if she’s simply talking, grumbling, or mildly protesting, but do your check when she has been truly crying for 5 minutes.
    2. Good to know: Sometimes parents tell us, “This doesn’t work. Every time I go in, my baby gets louder and madder.” What we say is that’s exactly what we expect to happen initially. You’ve got to be prepared to “ride the hump.” This is the period, usually the first, second, or third night, when your baby is testing the new pattern and may protest for a long time. The reason we want you to keep the intervals at exactly 5 minutes is that this amount of time is short enough and the frequency always predictable so that there is no risk that your baby moves beyond the protest stage into even the wondering where you are stage. Yes, she’ll get louder and madder, but with the frequency and predictability of your visits, she will still feel safe and secure.
  4. 4. Good morning
    1. Set a wake-up time that is 11 hours after bedtime. Before this time, you will implement the Sleep Wave for any awakenings your baby has. If your baby is still feeding at night and you wish to wean from one or more feedings, you will need to do so gradually (see here). Anytime after the set wake-up time, greet your baby and make it clear that this is morning. Gently open the blinds, give her a big smile, and sing a little song. Soon her internal clock will register when it’s time to wake up. We don’t recommend waking your baby up in the morning even if 11 hours have passed. Ideally, you’ll let her sleep end naturally.
 
We recommend checking on your child every 5 minutes so that her tears are ones of protest, not worry, fear, or abandonment. (Location 1801)
 
Five-minute checks keep baby in the protest state, so she doesn’t move into a state of wondering, worrying, fear, or abandonment. (Location 1807)
 
Create your own mantra or use ours:
  • It’s okay for my baby to struggle or feel frustrated.
  • My baby is protesting because we’re changing a strong pattern. She has feelings about it, and that’s okay!
  • I’m helping my baby get enough sleep, so that she is healthy and feels rested during the day. She needs to sleep well.
  • I want her brain and body to get the “nutrition” they need from adequate sleep.
  • We, as parents, need to get back to sleeping normally so we can be attentive and available to our children during the day.
  • I want my baby to go to bed feeling confident in her ability to get comfortable and fall asleep on her own.
  • Picture your child sleeping peacefully and how much the family will enjoy one another when you’ve all slept well.
  • I want my baby to acquire healthy sleep habits for a lifetime.
  • I want my baby’s sleep development to be on track rather than delayed. We, as parents, are ready to feel better rested so we can have some time for each other. Our mantra for you: Every time you complete a 5-minute check consistently, a big chunk of money goes into your “bank account.” You are accruing sleep wealth. If you break the pattern, you lose all of your money! (Location 1810)
 
But also remember, if you blur the lines by soothing him even a little on your visit, it will confuse him and prolong the process. Give him space to practice his skills. Exude confidence in him; he will absorb that feeling. (Location 1839)
 
When parents try “gentle” methods that involve a greater amount of soothing on the parents’ part, it tends to make the baby cry even more (because he’s confused) or, if it doesn’t work, it results in parents taking a harsher approach or not responding to the baby at all—which we would never advise. (Location 1842)
 
TOP ELEVEN REASONS THE SLEEP WAVE ISN’T WORKING: (Location 1857)
  • It’s important that baby has enough naps during the day, as this improves regulation and the ability to fall asleep easily. Naps should end by 3:30 or 4:30 p.m. (Location 1863)
  • Baby needs more tummy-time exercise during the day so he’s free to move around the crib and choose his own sleep position. See “Tips for Tummy Time.” (Location 1867)
  • Move the feeding earlier in your bedtime routine and read a story, sing songs, or walk around and tell everything in the room “good night,” as the last steps before going in the crib. This also allows baby’s tummy to settle before being put down. (Location 1872)
 
When a baby first sits or pulls to a stand, he often needs your help lying back down during each 5-minute check. Once you know that he can get back down by himself, you can let him be. (Location 1878)
 
Babies and little kids are very prone to waking up early because they are easily cued by morning light and their internal clocks tell them to rise roughly with the sun. (Location 1911)
 
The problem is that even though babies and toddlers often wake up at 5:00 or 5:30 a.m., they typically aren’t ready to wake up at this hour, in that their bodies actually need another hour of sleep. (Location 1915)
 
Here’s how you can work with this problem and stretch your baby’s wake-up time. Don’t put your baby to bed later, hoping she’ll sleep later. Your baby will likely wake up at the same time, or even earlier if you do this—the difference is that she’ll have had even less sleep. Surprisingly, putting your baby to bed 30 minutes earlier often helps her sleep later the next morning. This is because well-rested babies are less likely to wake up during the early morning hours. If your baby wakes up before 6:00 a.m. and she is grumbling, fussing, or talking, you can let her be. You don’t have to go in. If your baby starts to cry, wait 5 minutes and use your Sleep Wave checks until her scheduled wake-up time. When the clock strikes 6:00 a.m., and if your baby is awake, go to her and let her know it’s morning, say hello, open the blinds, feed her, and signal to her that it’s time to start the day. (Location 1919)
 
If you do this at 5:30 a.m. when your baby wakes, it regulates her internal clock to expect feeding and social interaction at that time. When you hold the boundary of 6:00 a.m. (or 11 hours after bedtime), her internal clock will begin to adjust accordingly. It’s okay if your baby doesn’t fall asleep again—keeping her in her sleeping space and holding off on feeding, social interaction, and light until the wake-up time will still work—it’s just going to take some time. (Location 1930)
 
It can take two to three weeks or more for your baby to shift into waking up at the right time. (Location 1933)
 
If you go in at 5:40 a.m. one morning, you can expect your baby to wake up at that time the next day, or even earlier (Location 1935)
 
Make sure your baby’s room is very dark and you’ve blocked early morning sunrays, keep to your Sleep Wave plan until 6:00 a.m., and your baby will adjust eventually. In the meantime, make sure you go to bed extra early during this time to get the best possible night’s sleep yourself. (Location 1937)
 
This is a tricky principle about night feeding—over time, it can become more of a habit than a necessity. Just because your baby wants to eat doesn’t mean he needs to eat; we like to say that if you fed us a sandwich at midnight, for three nights in a row, we’d probably wake up at that time on the fourth night with a rumbling tummy, looking for our sandwich! Even if your baby does eat at night, after 5 to 6 months, he is likely capable of getting all the calories he needs in the daytime instead. (Location 1966)
 
Contrary to much of what you might read, we have found, over many years of practice, that a very gradual weaning is the most effective, because your baby is less likely to notice and miss the slight decrease in milk each night. This is also the most sensitive approach, as we can be confident that your baby doesn’t feel hungry as he’s trying to fall back to sleep. (Location 1974)
 
You will use these guidelines while you implement one of the “weaning methods” below. If you’re breast-feeding, decrease 30 seconds, every other night. If you’re bottle-feeding, decrease ½ ounce, every other night. It may seem painstakingly slow to wean this way, but once your baby becomes an expert in falling asleep on his own (as you use the Sleep Wave), he may naturally drop feedings on his own, which speeds up the weaning process. This often happens when babies are accustomed to feeding as a way to pacify to sleep (rather than strictly out of hunger). (Location 1979)
 
Weaning Guidelines (Location 1993)
 
Weaning Examples (Location 2014)
 
Weaning Method 1—Following Your Baby’s Lead (Location 2048)
 
Weaning Method 2—Following a Schedule (Location 2061)
 
Maintaining Your Milk Supply (Location 2086)
 
By the age of 5 months and older, the opposite is true: too much milk right before bed or during the night becomes activating to babies, waking up their digestive systems and creating lots of peeing and big wet diapers. Think of your baby as you would yourself from this age on. If you drank a ton of liquid at bedtime and throughout the night, your body would have a hard time sleeping as well! (Location 2097)
 
Introduce a brand-new food in the morning so that you have time to observe your baby for any type of reaction, and so that his body has time to digest the food before bedtime. (Location 2107)
 
Favor keeping his naptimes and bedtimes consistent and fit the meals in when he’s awake. Sometimes that will mean giving a little snack or a mini lunch between naps, in order to fit everything in. Now it’s especially good to remember to move milk feedings earlier in your naptime and bedtime routines (or remove them completely when baby is ready) so as to disassociate feeding with falling asleep. (Location 2110)
 
Here is a rough outline of how your child’s naps will develop:

 
Evaluate your baby’s nap environment for any unhelpful sleep associations (here). The most common unhelpful ones at naptime are stroller or car rides, parent’s presence, feeding, or rocking to sleep. For the best sleep, your baby should go into her crib or regular sleeping place calm but awake, so that she can grab her blankie, roll around, talk to herself, get comfy, and doze off. (Location 2134)
 
Your nap routine can be a shortened version of your nighttime routine. For example, turn down the lights and close the shades, nurse or feed your baby, read a short book, switch on her white noise, walk around the room saying “good night” to her toys, sing a song, put her in her crib, say “It’s time for sleeping, Mommy’s right outside. I love you,” and walk out. (Location 2140)
 
Transitional object. Since your baby is now in charge of her own soothing to sleep, a lovey will help her find comfort and it can be a powerful tool for sleep both at night and for naps (see here for more on loveys). (Location 2143)
 
The fastest way for your baby to practice falling asleep on her own is to use the Sleep Wave for both bedtime and naps, so that she detects a consistent pattern of how she is put down for sleep. (Location 2150)
 
After you put your baby down for a nap, if you’ve been doing consistent 5-minute checks and she continues to cry for 30 to 45 minutes with no sign of progress, go in and simply say, “Okay, naptime is over” and pick her up. Try again in another 45 minutes or so. (Location 2152)
 
If your baby sleeps for a short time (20 to 45 minutes) and starts to cry when she wakes, only wait about a minute and go pick her up. It rarely works for a baby to put herself back to sleep after a short nap, because the pressure of her sleep drive has been relieved just enough so she’s not sufficiently drowsy anymore. (Location 2154)
 
Coming to get her when her babbles clearly change to calls for you is a great opportunity for an attuned, rather than automatic, response. (Location 2160)
 
many babies fall asleep easily at bedtime after just days of using the Sleep Wave but continue to have trouble falling asleep at naptime or taking short naps for several weeks. It’s okay—her nighttime sleep is the most important. Your baby will eventually nap well. (Location 2166)
 
Then, when your baby is 6 to 7 months old and over, you can establish a set nap schedule based on the time of day (see nap schedules). Age is just a guide. When your baby starts to fall asleep independently and sleeps for at least an hour at a time, it’s a good sign that she’s ready to move to a time-of-day schedule. (Location 2171)
 
OPTIMAL SPAN OF AWAKE TIME

Continue to nap your baby throughout the day, having the last nap end no later than about 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., for a 7:00 p.m. bedtime. (Location 2189)
 
When you first establish a nap schedule, your baby may, at times, be awake for longer than her optimal awake time until she grows accustomed to the schedule. For example, if you put your 6-to-7- month-old down at 8:00 a.m. and she only sleeps for 30 minutes, she may have to stay awake for 3 hours to make it to her next scheduled nap. That’s okay—your baby’s internal clock will adjust and she will most likely start sleeping longer if you keep her naptimes consistent. It’s also okay to flex the times a bit during this adjustment period. One nap may always be shorter than the other (for example, for a 9-month-old, a 2-hour morning nap followed by a 45-minute afternoon nap). As your baby reaches 7 to 9 months, she will likely need to have her last nap end no later than 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. for a 7:00 p.m. bedtime. (Location 2195)
 
Nap Schedule Examples (Location 2206)
 
0 TO 5–6 MONTHS OLD: (USE SPAN OF AWAKE TIME)
 
6 TO 9 MONTHS OLD (THREE NAPS)

How to know when your baby is ready to go from three to two naps: Baby is about 9 months old. Naps have gotten “chunkier,” at least an hour or more. Baby is no longer falling asleep for the third nap for one to two weeks straight. The third nap of the day begins to interfere with bedtime. The first nap of the day begins to drift later. Note: When they switch to two naps, most babies sleep at roughly 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (Location 2251)
 
The consistency we stress in the Sleep Wave is for establishing a new pattern. As a general rule, if your child has been sleeping well through the night and all of a sudden wakes up at an unusual time, listen first. Determine whether she’s simply whining and trying to get comfortable again, or if it seems she’s truly calling for you and sounds upset. If it’s the latter, go to her. (Location 2301)
 
We recommend that you respond this way when a night waking is out of the ordinary—it’s not a pattern—because we don’t want you to feel rigid or nervous about your baby waking up. (Location 2305)
 
Remember, after about 5 months, most babies can get all of their nutritional needs met during the day. It’s natural to think the wakings are hunger related, but they are much more likely to be due to developmental surges, which excite and activate a baby. (Location 2342)
 
If your baby is sitting, crawling, or standing, gently guide her back down into her favorite sleep position during each of your 5-minute checks. The idea is to guide or “mold” her body to show your baby how to eventually do it herself. Even if she immediately pops back up to a sit or stand, only “mold” once per visit. If she is sitting or in a crawling position, you can swiftly and smoothly guide her into her favorite lying-down position, usually on her side or tummy. (Location 2355)
 
Creating Your Child’s Sleep Schedule (Location 3989)
 
1. Sleep needs

2. How Many Naps Does My Child Need?
 
5 months: three naps (if baby catnaps, she may even take four naps/day)
9 months: two naps
15 to 20 months: one nap
3 to 5 years: Most children stop napping
 
3. Span of Awake Time Between Sleeps

4. Nap Schedule Examples
 
0-5 months: use span of awake time

As useful as these notes are, this still isn’t nearly distilled enough. In the middle of the night, with a wailing son, and unhappy wife, standing in a dark room with nothing but a nightlight, I would never be able to take out these digital notes to reference. I needed something even more distilled.

I opened my already distilled notes on the left of my computer screen, and a blank note on the right. In less than an hour, I copied and pasted only the absolutely most crucial, need-to-know points into the new note, rearranged them into an outline, and voilá, we had a plan.

You can see the customized sleep training plan I created below (or download it in Evernote format here):

To do
  • Buy blackout shades
  • Find lovey
  • Move air filter to nursery
  • Make sleep plan
Sleep Ladder (up to 5 mo)
  • Use Soothing Ladder if he cries for more than a minute, as many times as necessary; spend 30 seconds at each step:
    1. Your presence in the room
    2. The sound of your voice, talking, singing, shushing
    3. Replacing the pacifier and/or lovey
    4. Your touch, patting on the back, rubbing head or tummy, hand over top of the head, and so forth
    5. Jiggling baby in the bed
    6. Picking her up to gently rock until soothed but still awake
    7. Feeding her
Sleep Wave training (5 mo or older)
  1. Put baby down awake
    1. At 6:15pm for 30-45 minutes, before he starts yawning and fussing, start bedtime routine:
      1. PJs + diaper
      2. Play
      3. Feed
      4. Book
      5. Move into dark room
      6. Song
        1. Hush now, my baby
        2. Be still love, don’t cry
        3. Sleep as you’re rocked by the stream
        4. Sleep and remember
        5. My last lullaby
        6. So I’ll be with you when you dream
        7. River, oh river
        8. Flow gently for me
        9. Such precious cargo you bear
        10. Do you know somewhere
        11. He can be free
        12. River, deliver him there
      7. Turn on nature sounds
      8. Say goodnight to objects
      9. Bed
    2. Say the exact script: “Goodnight my baby love. It’s time for sleeping. Mommy and daddy are right here. I love you” and leave the room
  2. 5m check
    1. If baby cries, wait 5m, go in and stand next to crib, and say script (no more than 7-10 seconds total)
  3. The Wave
    1. If still crying, wait another 5m and repeat previous step exactly
    2. If he stops crying, reset time to zero and only go back in again after 5m
  4. Good morning
    1. Use Sleep Wave for any awakenings before set wakeup time
    2. At awakening time or later, open blinds, sing a song, tell him it’s morning, and pick him up
Bedtime routine options
  • Bath
  • PJs
  • Massage
  • Feed
  • Play
  • Books
  • Songs
  • Say goodnight to objects
  • Song while swaying
  • Bed
Nap routine
  • Put him down 90-120m after last waking up
  • Start routine at 75m, ending at 90m after last wakeup
  • Do 5m checks and sleep wave anytime he’s crying
  • If he continues to cry for 30 to 45 minutes with no sign of progress, go in and simply say, “Okay, naptime is over” and pick him up. Try again in another 45 minutes or so
  • If your baby sleeps for a short time (20 to 45 minutes) and starts to cry when she wakes, only wait about a minute and go pick her up
  • End last nap no later than 4 or 5pm
Nap schedule
  • Bedtime: 7pm
  • Wake time: 6am or later
  • First nap: 7:30am
  • Second nap: 12pm
  • Third nap: 3pm
During the day
  • Exposing your baby to indirect sunlight during the day
  • Keeping him in the living areas and activity during the day, and in a dark, quiet room at night
  • Lower the lights in the house at night (even if your baby is awake)
  • Don’t let him watch TV close to bedtime
Other tips
  • Stop swaddling when your baby can roll over at all, in either direction
  • Use long-sleeved, long-legged cotton onesies with feet (with a similar “blanket sleeper” as a second layer during cold seasons) instead of sleep sacks
  • Keep nighttime feedings as unstimulating as possible
  • Keep the lovey in the crib and use it only for sleeping
  • TEETHING TIP: Give your baby a cold, wet washcloth or gel-filled teether to chew on before daytime feedings
  • For weaning off nighttime feeds: reduce breastfeeding by 30 seconds every other night
Create your own mantra or use ours
  • It’s okay for my baby to struggle or feel frustrated.
  • My baby is protesting because we’re changing a strong pattern. She has feelings about it, and that’s okay!
  • I’m helping my baby get enough sleep, so that she is healthy and feels rested during the day. She needs to sleep well.
  • I want her brain and body to get the “nutrition” they need from adequate sleep.
  • We, as parents, need to get back to sleeping normally so we can be attentive and available to our children during the day.
  • I want my baby to go to bed feeling confident in her ability to get comfortable and fall asleep on her own.
  • Picture your child sleeping peacefully and how much the family will enjoy one another when you’ve all slept well.
  • I want my baby to acquire healthy sleep habits for a lifetime.
  • I want my baby’s sleep development to be on track rather than delayed. We, as parents, are ready to feel better rested so we can have some time for each other.
  • Our mantra for you: Every time you complete a 5-minute check consistently, a big chunk of money goes into your “bank account.” You are accruing sleep wealth. If you break the pattern, you lose all of your money!
Sleep needs

The outline is divided into clear sections so I know exactly what to do at any given time: 

  • To do’s (things I need to do or buy)
  • Sleep Ladder (the technique recommended up to 5 months)
  • Sleep Wave (recommended after 5 months)
  • Bedtime routine options (for creating a consistent, predictable routine to signal the baby to sleep)
  • Nap routine (same thing, but for naps)
  • Nap schedule
  • During the day (tips to follow during waking hours)
  • Other tips
  • Mantras (to keep us motivated)
  • Sleep needs (so we know how much total sleep he needs by age)

It’s important to realize that these exact instructions are not found in any single place within the book. That wouldn’t be possible, because the exact plan depends on the child’s age, temperament, and areas of need. 

This is true of all non-fiction and self-improvement books: they typically present many observations, facts, findings, stories, and general advice designed to appeal to the widest possible range of people. But only a fraction of that wide-ranging advice will ever apply to you and your situation. Which means it’s your responsibility to choose the parts that are relevant to your needs and reconstitute them into your own plan of action.

I printed the plan, which amounted to only 1 page front and back (or 0.3% of the full 326-page book), and pinned it to the wall outside our son’s bedroom. It helped us stay on the same page as parents, remain consistent in the face of uncertainty, and ultimately, to give our son (and ourselves) a blueprint for healthy sleep that has made all our lives better. 

Think about how many parents suffer and struggle through months or even years of sleep difficulties with their children. Imagine the impact of all that disturbed sleep on the health, wellbeing, and peace of mind of both parents and child. 

The answers to so many of the problems we face already exist – they’re just not well-distributed. They are stuck in books and classes that we don’t have time to take, don’t know how to extract, and can’t refer to when we need them most. We have access to all the information in the world, but not the tools to utilize that information effectively.

It’s tempting to imagine a “Second Brain” as an awe-inspiring machine wielded by futuristic superhumans. Yet over the course of our lives and careers, the way we handle the small problems and challenges of everyday life – with grace and ease or frustration and aggravation – will determine our satisfaction and quality of life more than any grand achievement.


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