Last updated on April 16th, 2024

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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Would you like to have me answer your baby or toddler sleep problem in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

Hi, Kim West, The Sleep Lady and in today’s video, I’m going to answer this mom’s question:

“Help! My 11-month-old was doing great with her naps and sleep at night a month ago. Now, after two colds, a trip to visit great grandma and upper incisor teething, things are not going as well. She used to sleep 1 to 1 ½ hours in the morning, now it’s 30 to 45 minutes and then she can’t make it until her afternoon nap. So, she has a short 30-minute power nap before lunch. I should add that she’s also awake by 6:00 a.m. and now sometimes earlier. She then naps from 2 to 4 p.m. typically. She is done for the night by 7:00 p.m.

“The big change is that she needs to be rocked prior to falling asleep at bedtime. She also wakes up several times at night now expecting to be picked up. I think it’s because of all the colds and teething. She does have a lovey and still uses a soother for napping and bedtime. Any suggestions to get my girl back on track?”

baby sleep

Repeat Your Sleep Coaching

Sounds like you are going to have to go back and redo The Shuffle. That means that you have to start on a day that has good naps. By the way, a 45-minute morning nap and a 2-hour afternoon nap are okay. For now, I would be consistent about the early rising, and then start on a night at 7:00 p.m. without rocking her to sleep.

Back on The Wagon

Have your soothing bedtime routine, then put her in to the crib awake, lights off, night light on, shade down, the whole program. You should expect her to protest more than she normally does. This usually happens when a child used to sleep well or was sleep coached successfully before, then encounters a sleep speed bump. We regress as the parent and then we have to say, “All right, we’ve got to get back on the wagon.”

Expect Resistance

A child who has had a sleep speed bump tends to not just cry, but shriek, which is what I’d like to call the intermittent reinforcement shriek. It’s your child saying, “Oh, my gosh, what are you doing? And why are we doing this again? And why can’t we go back to what we were doing at grandma’s when I was sick last week?”

So, that’s the bad news. The good news is that she has the skill, which means that she just needs to remember how to fall asleep by herself. If you are consistent, she will remember quickly, but you have to get through that shrieking (or what they call in Behavioral Science an extinction burst) for her to be able to remember, “Oh, we’re going back to this. I know how to do this. I guess you’re not going to hold me to sleep any more.”

Again, get back on the sleep coaching wagon. Put her into her bed awake. Be consistent in your response. Get through that tough part and she’ll be back to your good sleeper, just like she was before.

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have experienced a similar situation or have successfully re-coached your child, please share on The Sleep Lady’s Facebook page! ! Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

photo credit: thejbird via photopin cc

Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!