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Never wake a sleeping baby…is it true? Ask an Expert!

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At Tinyhood, our mission is simple: to provide new parents with a place to get on-demand answers about their most pressing parenting questions from trusted, certified experts. That’s why we keep a range of experts on hand who can advise on everything from sleep training to breastfeeding to early childhood development and more.

Since our inception, our experts have been asked a lot of wide-ranging questions—but we’ve noticed some patterns that have come up. So we’ve put together a lot of the questions new parents ask the most frequently on our site—along with the tried-and-true advice of our experts. Read on for our most sought-after advice.

“How do I get my baby on a normal sleep schedule?”

Early risings and frequent night wakings are often a result, counterintuitively, of over-tiredness at bedtime. The best way to get a baby to sleep through the night is to put them on a set schedule. Start with a consistent bedtime and wake time in the morning. To get a consistent wake time, leave the baby in the crib until it’s time to start the day. Any wakings before that time should be treated as a middle-of-the-night waking and the child should be encouraged to go back to sleep. Same goes for naps; set regular times for naps, ideally once mid-morning and another mid-afternoon. It can take a week or more for a child to adjust to a new sleep schedule, so give it some time to work itself out.

“Should I wake my infant up during the day to get her to sleep better at night?”

“Sleep begets sleep,” our experts say. This means that the better your infant sleeps during the day, the better he or she should sleep at night. Never try and keep your infant awake during the day in order to make them more tired at night. When babies aren’t getting enough sleep during the day, they become overtired, which causes the body to produce a hormone in an effort to stay awake (they get a “second wind”, if you will.) Trying to get your child to sleep in this state is much harder than if they’ve had regular naps during the day.

“Are nighttime feedings normal for an older baby?”

To lessen night wakings of a child around nine months old, experts recommend not feeding the child back to sleep. For an older baby, nursing or bottle feeding right before sleeping can become a “sleep prop”; something the child will come to expect and eventually rely on in order to get to sleep. Your goal is for your child to be able to get to sleep without any sleep props, and eventually, to sleep through the night. Once your baby is around this age, gradually weaning them off of nighttime feedings will aid in reaching this goal.

“How do I increase my breastmilk supply?”

The best way to increase the amount of breast milk your body makes is to nurse and pump frequently—every two to three hours—and to fully empty your breasts each time. When nursing, address any latch issues your baby may have, use both breasts, and take cues on when to stop from your baby—don’t stop them from feeding just because you think it may be time. When pumping, use your hands to squeeze out any excess milk at the end—the pump doesn’t catch everything. If you’re still having issues, make sure you’re getting enough water, and you can also look into supplements like Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, which some moms have claimed can increase their milk output.

“What’s the best way to wean my baby off breastfeeding?”

Weaning varies from mom to mom, but in general experts advise taking it slow. Try taking out one feeding at a time and allow their bodies time to adjust before removing another. Generally, moms have found the most success with taking out the daytime nursings first, and weaning children off the morning and nighttime nursings last. If the child is fussy, try giving them something else, like cow’s milk, and try snuggling with them during the time you’d normally be breastfeeding.

For more, stop by Tinyhood.com or download our app and join our active community of knowledge-seeking parents and the experts they trust. In addition to live Q&As, we offer deals where you can get some one-on-one advice from an expert. And right now, we’re offering new Tinyhood members $20 off our sleep packages with discount code MILEHIGHMAMA. Head here to redeem!

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