Meet Carianna Gibb! She is the founder of All The Sleeps, a pediatric sleep consulting company. Carianna helps tired + overwhelmed moms teach their littles to LOVE sleep. When she works with families, she takes the guesswork out so that they can feel confident while making positive sleep changes. Carianna sought out the world of pediatric sleep after graduating with her Master’s in Exercise Physiology. She had 2 boys and quickly learned how precious (and tricky) sleep could be as a mom!
After realizing how much more there was to learn about pediatric sleep AND how much Carianna wanted to share this knowledge with other struggling families, she decided to become a pediatric sleep consultant. Carianna became a Certified Sleep Consultant through the Institute of Pediatric Sleep and Parenting in 2017 as well as a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants.
Since getting a good night’s sleep is so important for new babies, Carianna answered some of our questions to help you learn about how your baby can get a better night’s sleep, and give you some comfort to know that your baby is sleeping safe and sound.
Crane- What is the best way to keep a baby sleeping through the night? Is it possible?
Carianna- It IS possible to have a baby sleep through the night! Several different factors come into play when talking about sleeping through the night though. First factor being, is it appropriate for my baby to go all night without a night feed? This is a question best asked of your pediatrician but to give you some very general advice, most babies under 6 months will need at least 1 night feeding. After 6 months, many healthy babies are able to go without night feeds. The other big factor is whether your baby has the skill to fall asleep on their own. Here’s a secret: Nobody sleeps through the night! We all briefly wake up at different times before falling back to sleep! So, if your baby doesn’t know how to fall asleep on their own, then when they have these natural wakings, they are going to need your help to get back to sleep.
Crane- How many naps do you recommend for a newborn throughout the day?
Carianna- Newborns can have as many as 5+ naps a day! With newborns, the biggest key is not letting them get overtired so we want to watch how long they are awake in between their naps. Ideally, they wouldn’t be awake longer than 45-60 minutes. Watching those periods of awake time and honoring them is more important than following a specific number of naps at that age.
Crane- What is the ideal set-up for a baby’s sleep area?
Carianna- Love this question! A conducive sleep environment is SO important when working on healthy and safe sleep habits. Ideally, we want their sleep area to be very dark during nights, early mornings, and naps. It should be dark enough that you can’t see your hand in front of your face. We also want to make sure that we are playing white noise for the entire time we want baby to be sleeping. These are the two non-negotiables that I have when working with my clients. Apart from that, we want a safe sleeping environment. That means placing your baby on their back in a bassinet, crib, or pack n play for sleep. And having a completely bare sleep space (no blankets, pillows, or crib bumpers).
Crane- Do you recommend for parents to check on their baby during the night?
Carianna- Absolutely. We want to be responsive parents. I also challenge my families to be curious too. If you hear your baby squirming or crying out, be curious about whether they are truly awake, or if they are just transitioning between sleep cycles. Avoid rushing in unless you think your child is in danger. Pausing for a minute or two or five from the very beginning can go a long way towards building independent sleepers.
Crane- How many hours of sleep should a newborn be getting?
Carianna- Newborn sleep can really vary but I would say anywhere from 16-20 hours in a 24 hours period would be great. A lot of that sleep will be broken up into smaller chunks though.
Crane- What is a trick you have used that helps a baby fall back to sleep?
Carianna- Like I mentioned above, setting that foundation of giving them space and being curious versus rushing right in can be really helpful! Another little trick to help is to pause, then increase the volume on the sound machine and pause again. This can be especially helpful in those newborn months.
Crane- When the baby sleeps, even in the middle of the day, should the parents try to sleep too?
Carianna- Yes, especially if parents are lacking in night sleep, it’s never a bad idea to grab some shut-eye whenever you can! Just make sure your baby is in their safe sleep space (crib, bassinet, pack n play), and then take a load off!
Crane- How often should a newborn eat throughout the night?
Carianna- This is going to be different for every baby. Many newborns are able to go 8-12 hours without a feed overnight while others may wake for a feed as often as every 3-4 hours. The best thing you can do to encourage longer stretches overnight is to keep them fed throughout the day. I recommend feeding every 2.5-3 hours throughout the day so that you know you’ve tanked them up as much as possible for the night.
Crane- When a baby wakes up crying in the middle of the night, does it more so have to do with hunger or lack of comfort?
Carianna- Depends! Is the baby eating a lot overnight and distracted during the day? If so, it’s probably hunger (although you can work with them to get this cycle reversed). Is feeding the only way baby knows how to fall asleep? If so, it’s probably a lack of comfort. Does the baby know how to fall asleep on their own and do it regularly? Then it’s probably a hunger waking since they don’t require comfort to fall asleep. Is the baby used to eating at each and every waking overnight? If so, it could be a combo of both hunger and comfort.
Crane- Is there a correct way to swaddle your baby for sleeping?
Carianna- I prefer to swaddle with arms down so that baby can’t break out of the swaddle. You want the chest/arm area snug with the hips and legs free to move and wiggle. And swaddling should always be ceased at the first sign of rolling.
Crane- Should new parents be tracking their baby’s sleep schedule?
Carianna- It’s definitely helpful to track your baby’s sleep but if it’s something that stressed you out, don’t feel like you have to! When making changes to sleep and working on teaching independent sleep skills, it’s always a good idea to track so you can see the progress you and your baby are making.
Crane- What is your best tip of advice you have found to be helpful for new parents with finding a good night of sleep?
Carianna- Go to bed early yourself. Try to have a nightly bedtime routine (both for your baby and for you). Avoid screens 1 hour before bed if you can and avoid them at any overnight wakings as well. If you have to be up overnight for an overnight feeding session, try to listen to a podcast or audiobook versus looking at your phone or watching tv. Don’t forget to ask for help and give yourself a break. You need it too! <3
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