Trouble Shooting The Sleep Lady Shuffle

  • 1
  • July 11, 2013

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s question about The Shuffle:

Hi. I’m Kim West, The Sleep Lady. Today, I’m going to answer Genona’s question. Here’s what she wrote in,

“Hello, Sleep Lady. My baby girl’s 10-months-old and we’ve been doing The Shuffle for a week now. In fact, tonight is going to be our 8th night! My daughter had a very strong nurse to sleep association. I was  waking up 8-10 times each night to get her back to sleep. I was so very sleep-deprived that I could not finish a sentence, eat, or do anything but dream about just a few hours of sleep for myself. So, I made the decision to stop nursing at night. Our pediatrician said it was okay, and I still nurse her at bedtime, but before the bath so now there’s no window between the nursing and going to bed. She goes to bed awake. She falls asleep on her own, without a pacifier. She gets enough food during the day as well since I stopped feeding her at night. Her naps are a whole different story, but I’ll do the nap training after we’re done with our night training.

The Shuffle has been successful considering that she does not wake up that often anymore. However, she still wakes up twice a night, and last night, she would not go back to sleep for an hour and a half at her first awakening. Her awakenings are usually at 11:00 p.m. or midnight,  and again around 4:00 a.m. Is it normal to be awake so long? I finally had to pat her bottom a little bit last night as she was very, very upset. Also, there were nights when she would not fall asleep without much complaining and yet, there were some where she would not settle for two hours. Why is that happening? Am I doing something wrong?”

Nap Coaching

Genona, you gave me a lot of great information here.  I’m wondering if those poor naps are leading to the night awakenings, and whether she’s inadvertently telling you, “Mom, you’re gonna have to nap train me too.” This happens and with some babies it happens quickly. Others take month. Often you start working on a night, and you start getting some progress and then all of a sudden, the crutch that was working for the naps doesn’t work anymore. I really think you need to reconsider starting the nap coaching, unfortunately. I know it’s very tiring.

Night Awakenings

Then the other thing is I want to make sure of is this: when she’s waking up at night and you’re going in, you want to make sure that you’re not doing what I call “sealing the deal”. It can be very subtle and simple, meaning that you go in after X amount of time. You can tell that she’s really awake at this point, and you go in and maybe pat her bottom just a little too much. I only use that example because you did mention that patting her bottom, she’s sort of looking for you to help her get to sleep, almost like, “Help me over that edge Mom, and get me back to sleep.” Please make sure you’re not doing that.

Keep Your Shuffle Position

A lot of times what happens with parents is that they’re sitting next to the crib,and they’re giving a lot of reassurance physically and verbally. When they move away after three nights, they find themselves getting out of their chair a lot and going over to the crib’s side and patting (even if it’s just thirty seconds) and then they go back to the chair. Doing this defeats the purpose of moving away because in the end, you’re still going back to the crib to help her go back to sleep. Remember, babies thrive on consistency.

When you look for those very important things at both bedtime and naps, and make sure that the same things aren’t happening. If you’re really, truly sitting over by the door, which is what I would assume on night 8 of baby sleep coaching, make sure that you’re staying in your chair more than you’re getting out. She’s learning a very important skill and most of all, she’s awake enough and her bedtime is early enough.

Genona, good luck.

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

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8 Comments

  • BeanyBoo says:

    Tonight will be night 4 of your sleep shuffle programme and my 8 month old doesn’t seem to be getting anymore sleep. Her naps are still the same length of time(30 mins) so I wait for an hour before getting her up as suggested in the book. She spends most of this time crying her eyes out.
    In the night she’ll cry when she wakes up for anything between 20 minutes and an hour. Stroking her hand or back makes her more hysterical as does saying shh shh etc.
    If I pick her up when she’s screaming she’ll stop straightaway but gets even worse when I put her down.
    I’m aware it’s only day 4 but she’s not getting anymore sleep than before we started and while my back feels great from no longer rocking her, she’s not her usual happy self. I could put up with the tears if I felt we were making some sort of progress but she now looks exhausted most of the day as she has red rimmed eyes and dark circles that she didn’t have before and comforting her doesn’t work when she’s crying so what do I do?

  • BeanyBoo says:

    Tonight will be night 4 of your sleep shuffle programme and my 8 month old doesn’t seem to be getting anymore sleep. Her naps are still the same length of time(30 mins) so I wait for an hour before getting her up as suggested in the book. She spends most of this time crying her eyes out.
    In the night she’ll cry when she wakes up for anything between 20 minutes and an hour. Stroking her hand or back makes her more hysterical as does saying shh shh etc.
    If I pick her up when she’s screaming she’ll stop straightaway but gets even worse when I put her down.
    I’m aware it’s only day 4 but she’s not getting anymore sleep than before we started and while my back feels great from no longer rocking her, she’s not her usual happy self. I could put up with the tears if I felt we were making some sort of progress but she now looks exhausted most of the day as she has red rimmed eyes and dark circles that she didn’t have before and comforting her doesn’t work when she’s crying so what do I do?

  • breefawn says:

    BeanyBoo I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with The Shuffle! I suggest that you read this article that details http://www.sleeplady.com/naps-2/naps-naps-and-naps-how-when-and-why/#.Upis3KXGEds for starters. You may also want to http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-sleep/typical-sleep-schedules-recommended-hours-of-sleep/. Finally, I would post your issues, along with your daughter’s schedule on http://www.facebook.com/thesleeplady where a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach can help you trouble shoot. Good luck!

  • breefawn says:

    BeanyBoo I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with The Shuffle! I suggest that you read this article that details http://www.sleeplady.com/naps-2/naps-naps-and-naps-how-when-and-why/#.Upis3KXGEds for starters. You may also want to http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-sleep/typical-sleep-schedules-recommended-hours-of-sleep/. Finally, I would post your issues, along with your daughter’s schedule on http://www.facebook.com/thesleeplady where a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach can help you trouble shoot. Good luck!

  • roseyposey says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been doing the Shuffle with my 7-month-old son for naps as well as nights for a week now and have been seeing great improvement in both. I still allow him one feed in the night – after 2am – because he doesn’t drink water reliably yet during the day, only breastmilk. He also has a dummy for sleep times. My question is, can I do the earlier Shuffle stages again in future if necessary? For example when ending night feeding completely, or ending the use of his dummy, or after sleep disruption from illness? I know that the book provides for how minimize sleep disruption these circumstances, but let’s face it, it happens. If so, how do I know when it’s needed or how far back to move my Shuffle position once I’m outside the room? Or is it just a case of toughing it out once the Shuffle is completed and soothing him from the 13+ nights position?
    Thanks for any help!
    Rose

  • roseyposey says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been doing the Shuffle with my 7-month-old son for naps as well as nights for a week now and have been seeing great improvement in both. I still allow him one feed in the night – after 2am – because he doesn’t drink water reliably yet during the day, only breastmilk. He also has a dummy for sleep times. My question is, can I do the earlier Shuffle stages again in future if necessary? For example when ending night feeding completely, or ending the use of his dummy, or after sleep disruption from illness? I know that the book provides for how minimize sleep disruption these circumstances, but let’s face it, it happens. If so, how do I know when it’s needed or how far back to move my Shuffle position once I’m outside the room? Or is it just a case of toughing it out once the Shuffle is completed and soothing him from the 13+ nights position?
    Thanks for any help!
    Rose

  • breefawn says:

    roseyposey  You can absolutely go back a few steps with The Shuffle to get his sleep back on track!

  • breefawn says:

    roseyposey  You can absolutely go back a few steps with The Shuffle to get his sleep back on track!