If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s baby sleep training video:
Hi! Kim West, The Sleep Lady. And today, I’m going to answer Mallory’s question.
She emailed in the following, “I have an 11-month-old who will not sleep for naps or nighttime. I also have an almost-five-year-old with Autism. I’m not able to get my baby down for his afternoon nap and sit by the crib because I have to be watching my son with Autism. It seems so hard. My baby is usually up seven to eight times per night from midnight on. I feel like I’m losing my mind. Any advice would really help at this point. Any baby sleep training advice for me? Thanks, Mallory.”
Mallory, I can understand why you’re so tired and I know that it can be really challenging to also be caring for a second child with Autism or even to be caring for another child without Autism while you have a baby that doesn’t sleep. It’s hard when you have a baby that isn’t sleeping through the night and taking naps.
I don’t have a lot of details about the rest of your situation but I would encourage you to start sleep coaching on the weekend. Perhaps a Friday night if you have a partner or a spouse that can be there to help so that one person can be with your five-year-old and one person can be with the baby, so that you can focus on one child that night. Even a loving friend or grandmother would be great!
Always start sleep coaching at bedtime after a great day of naps ANY WAY you can get them…car, stroller, carrier, rock, nurse or feed your baby to sleep for both naps. Do whatever works so that your baby does not face bedtime overtired. Try to get your baby to have close to 3 hours of naps and a bedtime around 7pm.
Go thru the Shuffle as outlined in GNST for night sleep.
Now in terms of naps where you have the bigger challenge with having an older child to care for…..
If your baby has sleep crutches that work for naps (such as stroller, swing, etc) then you can use those while you work on night sleep. But let’s say that none of your crutches are working. Then, the only thing you are left to do are timed checks for naps. This involves putting him in awake for both naps and checking on him every five to seven minutes until he hopefully falls asleep. If you can, try this for an hour. I also want you to know that I have plenty of parents that also have to do time checks for naps because they have other children (regardless of whether the other children have Autism) and it’s a safety concern for the other children….that makes sense to me!
Don’t worry, you can also do time checks for naps and still do the Shuffle at night. It may be surprising, but you can do it like this and it still consistently works. Of course, do what you can and be realistic. Again, if there is a sleep crutch that works for the naps while you are focusing on nighttime sleep, that’s okay. We will get to the naps later. If you don’t have a sleep crutch that works for naps, then try time checks for naps and the Shuffle at night. Hopefully, you have another parent who can help you, so someone can attend to the five-year-old while you attend to the baby, or you can take turns. Divide and conquer!
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