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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sleeping through the night

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s baby sleep problem video:
Hi! I’m Kim West, The Sleep Lady. Today, I’m going to answer an exhausted mom’s email question about her 10-month-old baby’s sleep problem. She didn’t give me her name. So, I’m just going to call her ‘mom’:
“I have a 10-month-old daughter and most nights, she goes to sleep beautifully at bedtime. She takes a bath, PJs, stories then to bed sleepy but awake. She fusses a little but usually she falls asleep no problem. She used to be a very good sleeper, often sleeping for 9 or 10 hours at night, not every night but a lot of times. Lately, her sleep is getting worse and not better.
“She wakes up screaming in the middle of the night and goes onto her knees and screams more. We don’t know what to do. She is still in the bedroom with us as we live in a one-bedroom apartment so this is our only option right now. She is in a crib right next to the bed. So, I don’t think it’s separation anxiety. Help! We’re exhausted.”

Rule Out Reflux

I want you to rule out reflux, just in case. I don’t have a lot of information about your situation but I would find out from your pediatrician if he/she thinks that your baby might have reflux and that’s what waking her up. In other words, her stomach acids are coming up at night. Reflux can wake a baby during the night.

Be Consistent in Your Response to Night Wakings

I am not sure whether you feed her during the night or not. If there is some inconsistency in that, so that sometimes she wakes up and is fed and sometimes she wakes up and is not fed, that’s inconsistent. Make sure you have made a decision about whether she needs to feeding during the night and then follow through with your doctor-approved plan consistently.

Drowsy but Awake

Make sure you’re putting her down well-napped and awake enough. I’m not sure how sleepy is “sleepy but awake” in your description. Remember that bedtime is the easiest time to put yourself to sleep, so you want your baby to go into her bed awake. It’s really more awake than asleep at this age. Awake means: “I’m dry, fed, warm, loved, and now, it’s time for me to go into my bed.”
You can do this with her crib next to your bed. You can either lie down on your bed or sit up in your bed and offer physical and verbal reassurance until she can put herself to sleep. Pick her up, of course, if she gets hysterical, calming her and putting her back down. Do the same thing for all of the awakenings  — unless she is having a feeding. Then feed her, burp her and put her back down in the crib. Make sure that the first thing you do is not immediately pick her up. Wait until she really needs you to pick her up, if at all.
After a few days you can move the crib a little bit away so you sort of modify the Shuffle for a one-bedroom apartment. It’s absolutely doable and you can nap coach this way also.
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!