Live Toolbox Series with Lily, the Pediatric Sleep Consultant

Lily, a Toronto-based pediatric sleep consultant (and mom of two) provides customized sleep solutions that are family-centered and science-based for babies from newborns until age two. It was her own experience as a new mom experiencing sleep deprivation that led her to begin researching and studying sleep. Learning about sleep cycles changed her life so profoundly that she decided to create “Lil Baby Sleep” to help other families (like yours) get the sleep they so desperately need. She has been there and she can help.

Who should reach out to you and when?

The best time to reach out would be before mom and dad hit rock bottom, because a sleep consultant can help prevent exactly that. It’s important for moms to know that you’re not alone; almost every new mom is struggling with sleep deprivation and we are here to help. Whenever you feel ready to make that change is when you should be reaching out. It is never too late to change your sleep; a lot of moms come to me and say things like, “Oh Lily, my child is already 8 months, it’s too late to start sleep training now...”. It is never too late for better sleep.

My little one is 5 months old and we’re just starting to sleep train. He goes to bed pretty well, but rolls onto his tummy 30 minutes after we put him down and wakes up upset. What do I do? Do I let him try to fall back asleep on his tummy or do I go in whenever he does flip and put him back on his back? He hasn’t figured out how to roll back on to his back from his tummy so maybe this will resolve when that happens?

Your little one is learning a new skill, and that is a skill they need to practice. So you will want to practice this skill during the daytime with your baby as much as possible. But if your little one falls asleep on their back and then rolls over on their tummy, they are safe to stay on their tummy. If you’re really concerned you could go in and help your little one turn back on their back. Let them practice their new skills as much as possible.

My 5 month old sleeps really well but he goes to bed really late. How can we change the sleep time?

You have to play with the time of sleep during the night; you could try to put your little one down for a nap earlier during the day. The first thing I would do is set a wake up time that works for you and your family. Wake your baby up every day at the same time as that will help you shift your little one’s bedtime.

What is sleep training?

Sleep training is to help your baby to be comfortable sleeping for several hours through the night on their own. If they wake up, they’ll be able to self-soothe and fall back asleep. There are several sleep training methods parents can use developed by sleep experts. Cry it out is one of many sleep strategies. Sleep consultants are here to help you find a strategy that works for you.

What’s the age range for 1 nap per day or 2 naps per day?

As babies get older their wake windows are getting longer and longer and their nap time decreases.

3 to 4 months: 3 to 4 naps during the day time

8 months: 2 naps during the day time

18 months: 1 nap during the day time

2.5 years old – 3 year old: 0 naps per day

Is it okay for a 9-month old to be transitioning to one nap a day? How long should the nap be?

A 9-month old should still be on two naps, and for the length of the naps should be 2.5 to 3 hours of sleep during the day time.

When is the best time to get rid of the pacifier?

The pacifier is usually a problem when your baby is between 4 and 8 months old, because that is a time when they are not able to pick it up and put it in their mouth themselves. If you’re okay with getting up every time your little one loses the pacifier and put it back in their mouth, great. Otherwise that is a great time to get rid of the pacifier.

My 12 month old keeps skipping first nap, is it time to drop to one nap?

12 month olds are known for nap strikes and nap skipping; all we can do is keep offering and the first nap should come back. A nap strike shouldn’t last longer than 1 to 2 weeks.

I’m not able to put my newborn down -- she keeps waking once I transfer her. What do I do?

There are two ways to put your baby down. Either you hold them for 20 minutes until they transition into a deep sleep and always put them down feet first. The second way is to put them down wide awake and settle them in their bassinet. The wrong way to put them down would be after 10 minutes before they are in a deep sleep.

How long does the 4-month regression last?

It does not go away; the 4-month regression is the maturation of sleep cycles. When your little one is 4 months old a sleep consultant will help you sleep train your little one so they can soothe themselves back to sleep.