Last updated on April 4th, 2024

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

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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

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!