Last updated on June 9th, 2024

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

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Answers to Your Top 9 Baby Sleep Problems

Did you know that 30% of parents report a baby’s sleep problem in the first 5 years? If you are reading this article please know you are not alone! In my over 25 years of working with tired parents, I have noticed a trend of the top baby sleep problems. This means that your baby, toddler, or preschooler isn’t the only one not napping, waking during the night, or experiencing sleep regression.

Baby sleep problems
Newborn baby sleeping in arms of his father.

Yes, your specific sleep issues are unique, and yes, I have yet to meet two families with completely identical sleep problems, but the general themes seem to be the same.

Like most parents of small children, your time is limited. You don’t have hours in your day to scroll through hundreds of articles searching for a solution. Not to worry! I’ve taken the liberty of compiling the most-asked questions about baby sleep problems in one place.

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“My baby is 4 weeks. Can I sleep coach yet?”

In a word, no. Not yet. Your baby isn’t quite ready developmentally for sleep coaching. Most babies won’t be able to self-soothe until closer to 6 months, and a few babies will be developmentally ready at 4.5 months, but that is certainly not the norm. While you wait to sleep coach, you can however encourage your child to have positive sleep associations and good nighttime sleep habits. Here are a few articles to help you through the first 6 months:

Simple Ways to Nurture Good Sleep Habits In Your Newborn Baby

6 Things You Should Know About Newborn Sleep

How to Get a Newborn to Sleep

“My baby used to sleep so well, not at 4, 8, 12, 18, or 24 months, everything changed!”

Ah, the dreaded sleep regression. These always throw families for a loop. If you’ve already sleep-coached, then you know that you just have to revisit The Shuffle to help get your child’s sleep back on track. But if you haven’t yet started to sleep coach, you’ll need to get a handle on what is happening with your child’s sleep before you can get started. Read more about all of the different sleep regressions:

Sleep Regressions: Just a Phase?

The 4-Month Sleep Regression

When Does The 4-Month Sleep Regression End?

The Pre-Toddler Sleep Regression

The 18-Month Sleep Regression

The 2-Year Sleep Regression

When Will My Baby’s Sleep Regression End?

“My baby is suddenly waking up at 4:00am every single morning! Help!”

Early rising is a very common toddler and baby sleep problem! I know that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you’re the parent being awoken before the sun comes up. There really are only a few common causes of early rising, and once you figure out what is causing this with your child, you can begin to remedy it. Learn more about the causes of early rising here:

5 Common Causes of Early Rising

Sneaky Causes of Early Rising

8 Tips to Resolve Early Rising

Tips to Stop Early Rising in Toddlers

“My biggest baby sleep problems! Naps are a nightmare!”

Often, I hear from parents who are worried about their child’s naps, or more commonly, lack thereof. When you consider how frequently your child’s nap schedule changes (6 months, 15-18 months, 3-4 years), it’s no wonder that the majority of children, and parents, struggle with naps. For some naptime help, check out these articles:

Nap Coaching Tips

Everything You Need To Know About Baby And Toddler Naps

Do We Need A Nap Coaching Break

How To Transition Your Toddler To One Nap Per Day

Why Isn’t My Child Napping Well Anymore?

Does Your Preschooler Still Need To Nap?

Tips For Transitioning From The Afternoon Nap to Quite Time

What To Do When Your Child Refuses To Nap

“I need help with my child’s sleep schedule!”

I talk a lot about flexible routines and the importance of keeping consistent naps and bedtimes for small children. Find out more about your flexible schedules for your child’s age:

The Ideal Sleep Schedule For Baby

Typical Sleep Schedules for Children 6 Months To 5 Years

“Is 9, 10, 11:00 pm an OK bedtime?”

For an adult, sure, sometime between 9 and 11:00 p.m. is n appropriate bedtime. But for our babies and toddlers, it’s too late. Our children need far more sleep than we do as adults. And as the parent, it’s our job to protect their growth and development by protecting their sleep. Learn more about early bedtimes:

Why An Early Bedtime Means More Restful Sleep

“What is ‘The Shuffle’?”

I call my sleep coaching method The Sleep Lady Shuffle. Did you know that there are only 4 types of sleep coaching? Did you know that you don’t have to cry-it-out to have a successful sleep training experience? Learn more about my thoughts on the different sleep coaching methods, and why I advocate for picking the method you can follow thru with consistently. If you are not sure which one that is, then I recommend that you start with The Shuffle to help solve your baby sleep problems:

Baby Sleep Training Methods Demystified

What Is The Sleep Lady Shuffle?

Troubleshooting The Sleep Lady Shuffle

Podcast Episode: There Are Only Three Sleep Training Methods

Podcast Episode: There is No Such Thing as “No Crying” Sleep Training

“Should I co-sleep?”

There are different schools of thought about co-sleeping. Let me just say that I am not against co-sleeping, as long as it is done safely and is not reactive (meaning you bring baby into bed out of desperation), and both partners agree. Read more of my thoughts about co-sleeping here:

The Sleep Lady On Co-Sleep

How To Co-Sleep Safely

Tips on Co-Sleeping and Roomsharing

Additional Thoughts About Co-Sleeping

Podcast Episode: How to Gently End Cosleeping with Your Baby

Podcast Episode: Tips to Improve Sleep While Safely Cosleeping

“My partner wants to let our baby “cry it out”. I just can’t do that- it’s heartbreaking!”

It’s understandable that as adults, we have different opinions about a lot of things. When you’re trying to teach your child to sleep, though, it’s incredibly important that you maintain a level of consistency that may not be necessary for other areas of your life.

It is essential to be a united front as parents, especially when you’re talking about your child’s sleep. Sit down and choose a sleep coaching method you can follow thru with consistently. More about sleep coaching and consistency:

10 Steps to Take Before Starting Baby Sleep Coaching

Putting Yourself To Sleep Is a Learned Skill

Consistency: The Most Important Factor to Sleep Coaching Success

Your Key to Sleep Coaching Success

Consistency in Sleep Coaching

Podcast Episode: The Secret to Successful Sleep Training

Is It Selfish to Sleep Coach

Did I miss anything? Do you have a question that I didn’t cover here? Please be sure to visit my Facebook Page and let me know!

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!